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I've got parenting orders - how do I enforce them?

Family Law: 22 March 2019

It is infuriating when, once Parenting Orders have been negotiated, often after much work and expense, they are breached.  So what can you do?

Sometimes the reason for the breach is ambiguous wording in Orders.  It may be that Orders simply have to be rewritten by consent or in a worst case scenario one party has to apply to a Court for a variation to clarify the Orders.

At other times, the breach is clear, but the person causing the breach will claim they are doing it for the protection of the child or another person.  If the health and safety of any person associated with Parenting Orders is at risk under the Orders, it is a reasonable excuse to breach those Orders to the extent necessary for the person's protection.  

There may be a clear breach with no reasonable excuse, so that a Court application is appropriate.  With certain exceptions, certified Family Dispute Resolution Counselling will be required before a party can be taken to Court for breach of Orders. 

For a first proven offence, the Court will normally require that the offending party undertake counselling.  Orders can also be made varying parenting arrangements (for example, by allowing for some "make uptime) and for the "breacherto pay the applicant's costs.  If the offence is particularly serious, or a second breach without reasonable excuse, more serious penalties can apply. 

The Family Law Specialist Solicitors at Aitken Partners have experience in the difficult area of enforcing Parenting Orders.  They are happy to sit down with you for a general review of your situation or to act on urgent matters as may be applicable.  Contact them on 8600 6083.

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