There can often be a perception by parties to Family Law child
related matters that the battle has been won once the Court makes
Unfortunately, given the inherent complexities and high emotions
present in most child related matters, this is rarely the case and
breaches of parenting Orders occur relatively frequently.
In the event a party breaches Family Court parenting Orders,
what penalties are applicable?
Division 13A of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) ("the
Act") deals with the consequences of failure to comply with
orders, and other obligations, that affect children and these
provisions are mirrored in Division 13 of the Western Australian
Family Court Act 1997 (WA). The legislation essentially breaks
contraventions down into two categories – less serious and
The powers available to the Family Court in dealing with
contravention of parenting orders are wide, varied and able to be
tailored to the nature of the breach.
Sub-divisions 3 – 6 of Division 13A of the Act set out
these powers and the applicable penalties, which differ according
to the seriousness of the contravention and whether the Respondent
can provide a reasonable excuse for the breach.
Possible penalties include:
Compensating a party for time lost with their child as a result
of a breach by the other party (s 70NDB);
Ordering the other party to enter into a bond for a period of
up to 2 years that may require that person to attend family
counselling, family dispute resolution or 'be of good
behavior' (s 70NEC); and
In circumstances of a serious breach, making community service
orders (s 70NFC) or even terms of imprisonment (s 70NFG).
In the event you or the other party have contravened parenting
Orders, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a Family
Lawyer given the potentially serious outcomes of this breach as
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).