What happens if someone breaches Family Court Orders?
Breaching an Order, whether it is in relation to parenting or
financial matters, made by the Family Court of Western Australia
("the Court") can have serious
repercussions. There are penalties for disobeying such orders and
the Court is able to make a wide range of interim and final Orders
as a consequence of a breach.
What happens if I breach a parenting order?
If you breach a parenting Order, the other party can make an
application for enforcement or start contravention proceedings
Enforcement is when the Court can make an Order that the person
applying for the enforcement is compensated, for example, by way of
'make-up time' with the child.
Contravention: is when the Court can punish you unless you have
a 'reasonable excuse' for breaching the parenting Order.
The court will only consider that you have a 'reasonable
excuse' if for example, you believed you had to breach the
parenting Order to protect the child or you did not understand that
you were breaching the parenting Order at the time.
An example of breaching parenting Orders is where there is a
Court Order in place that a Father has time with the children of
the relationship however; the Mother fails to handover the children
for time with the Father pursuant to the Court Orders. The Court is
able to make orders (as above) to address such breaches.
If you breach a parenting Order more than once, or the Court
thinks that you are simply ignoring the parenting Order, the Court
can also make you:
Pay any expenses that the other parent has had to meet because
you breached the parenting order (e.g. travel costs)
Pay some or all of the other parent's legal costs
Do community service work
Be put on a bond
Pay a fine, or
Go to jail.
What happens if I breach financial orders?
There are many kinds of financial Orders which the Court can
make these can include Orders for a person to pay money to another
person by a certain time, Orders to transfer or sell property or
Orders to sign documents.
Once these Orders are made, each person bound by the Order must
follow it. If a person fails to obey the Orders, the options
available to the parties are to attempt to resolve the issue
through attending dispute resolution or making an application to
the Court for an enforcement Order.
An example of a breach of a financial Order is where a Court has
ordered that parties in property settlement proceedings must not
sell or dispose of any assets of a specified minimum value before
property settlement is finalised and one party intentionally or
recklessly disobeys that order by selling that asset.
If you or the other parent have breached a parenting or
financial Order you should seek advice from a specialist Family
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.
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