Contravention when court finds that party has not complied with court order

Once a parenting order is issued by a court all parties concerned are bound by the order to comply. However, there are instances when there is a breach of a parenting order that is under Division 13A of Part VII of the Family Law Act or a parenting order that does not affect children. Such a parenting order may be breached by the following actions:

Intentionally failing to comply with the order;

  • Failure to make reasonable attempts to comply with the order;
  • Aids or abets another person, who is bound by the order, to contravene the order;
  • Intentionally prevents another person bound by the order from complying.

One of the remedies for the breach of a parenting order is to apply for the issuance of a Contravention Order from the court. The forms needed to be filed are the Application for a Contravention Order, an affidavit and a certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

Whenever applying for a Contravention Order the applicant must first think what results he wants to achieve because there are a number of remedies that are provided under the law. One of the remedies is imprisonment which the applicant might not be suitable to the applicant’s needs. Other remedies of a Contravention Order include:

  • Varying the existing order;
  • Compensating for lost contact time;
  • Ordering for the resumption of the arrangements under the first order;
  • Imposition of fine or payment of damages.

The respondent in an application for Contravention Order can contest the application by proving that he made reasonable attempts to comply with the order. Plausible defences may be that the contravention was necessary to protect the health or life of a person or that the conditions in the order were not fully understood, hence the inadvertent contravention.