When a Court makes Orders they expect each party to abide by them. In family law it is in fact an extremely serious matter to contravene the Orders of a Judge. The penalties of a breach of orders range from bonds paid onto court, changes in the orders and even jail time.
In saying this, you may have experienced instances where another party breaches orders and appears to get away with it. These breaches may be minor such as arriving late to changeover or a serious such as failing to return a child or failing to engage with the other parent and making long term decisions for the child.
For the Court to make findings in relation to a contravention an application must be made to the Court, which can be costly in terms of both time and money.
Not only do you need to prove that the other party was bound by the orders and breached them, but the Court must also be satisfied that the breaching party did not have a reasonable excuse for contravening the Order. A reasonable excuse, for example, can be that they believed on reasonable grounds that their actions are necessary to protect the health and safety of the child or themselves.
In the current COVID climate, arrangements that used to be completely sensible such as travel across State lines, or attendance at specific events can be proven difficult in practice. It may be that in these circumstances, the courts will be more lenient in deciding whether a breaching party has a reasonable excuse.
In these circumstances, it may be beneficial for you and your partner to attend family dispute resolution or mediation to attempt to resolve the issues, which can be much better for both the children and your co-parenting relationship.
It is important to understand when an application for contravention is necessary or when it may in fact cause more harm to the relationship between you and your partner and/or you and your child.
Here at Tiyce & Lawyers we are experts with respect to parenting matters and can help you if you are concerned that the other party may be in breach of Orders.