The court can only penalize someone for not complying with parenting orders if the other parent makes an application complaining that you did not follow the orders.
The court will consider the allegations raised, and your reasons for not complying with the orders and may decide:
- the alleged contravention was not established;
- the contravention was established but there was a reasonable excuse;
- there was a less serious contravention and no reasonable excuse;
- there was a more serious contravention and no reasonable excuse.
If the court finds that you haven’t complied with the orders and you don’t have a reasonable excuse, it may:
- change the parenting orders (this may mean the children spend less time with you);
- order you to attend a post-separation parenting program;
- order “make-up” time for the other parent;
- require you enter into a bond (either payment of money or of good behavior);
- make a costs order against you requiring you to pay some or all of the legal costs of the other party associated with their contravention application;
- order you to pay compensation for reasonable expenses lost as a result of the contravention (for example, the cost of flights if the parent lives interstate or overseas);
- order you to pay a fine to the court;
- order you to a sentence of imprisonment.
You should speak to a lawyer about why it is you aren’t following the orders and get some legal advice about the consequences of your decision and the options available to you.
If the reasons relate to the welfare of your children while spending time with the other parent, there are options available to change the orders – and if the matter is urgent (for example, there are concerns about child abuse or family violence), you may be able to bring an urgent application before the Court.
It will be much better for you to be proactive about changing the arrangements than risk a contravention application being made against you, particularly where there are concerns about the welfare of your children.
For advice about your particular circumstances and whether you should make an application to change parenting orders, get in touch with Megan Sweetlove for a confidential discussion at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 7226 3567.
** DISCLAIMER: This information in this publication is not intended to be legal advice. Information provided on in this publication is for the purpose of providing general information only in relation to Family Law. The information provided is current at the time it is produced. You should not rely on the general information contained in this publication as legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your own specific circumstances.