Complying with orders about children

Once an order about children is made by the court everyone concerned is required to comply. The person who breaches a court order about children can be held liable and penalties may be imposed.

There are basically three remedies for breach of an order about children.

  • 1. Attending dispute resolution

Attending community dispute resolution is a cheaper way of resolving a dispute. It involves less time and money than going to court. Parties who reach an agreement can execute a parenting plan or apply for consent orders with the court.

  • 2. Getting legal advice

Legal advice may be sought from a private law firm, community legal centre or legal aid office. Lawyers can help the parties reach an agreement without going to court.

  • 3. Apply to a court

The court can enforce an order about children and it can impose penalties for breach upon filing of an application for contravention of an order. There is a breach or contravention of an order if the person:

  • 1. Intentionally fails to to comply with the order;
  • 2. Makes no reasonable attempt to comply with the order;
  • 3. Intentionally prevents compliance with the order by a person who is bound by it; or
  • 4. Aids or abets a contravention of the order by a person who is bound by it.

Aside from enforcing an order about children, the court can also vary or change an order to ensure compliance by all people concerned. Grounds for changing an order may be that the current arrangements for the child have changed or the parents cannot reasonably comply with the order.

The Family Court has jurisdiction of complex cases like those that involve child abuse, international child abduction or multiple parties. All other cases fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court.