Section 70NFA of the Family Law Act outlines the violation of primary orders. These orders are defined under the Act as orders affecting children. This subdivision applies if a court has satisfaction over a person contravening a parenting order. Moreover, this article will explain contravention orders and what is acceptable in contravening parenting orders.
Section 70NFA Family Law Act: Types Of Parenting Orders
Making arrangements for children requires parents to specify conditions in their parenting orders, parenting plans, or consent orders. Parents can allocate who has responsibility in making major long-term decisions for their children. Addressing these responsibilities include:
- Schedules when a parent will pick up a child from school
- Whether a parent will pick up a child from school
- Whether a parent may take a child overseas for a holiday
A parenting order could also prohibit a parent from a specific behaviour such as:
- Insulting or criticising the other parent when talking to the child
- Situations where there is a history of domestic violence
- Going to the other parent’s home without consent
Parenting orders can cover a wide range of topics. However, there is no requirement to deal with any specific matters. Parents may find it helpful to consider the problems that are likely to arise after separation. Similarly, parents can also consider which of those problems should be addressed in the parenting orders.
Contravention Of Parenting Proceedings
A separated parent may often ask “What can I do when my ex has not complied with a parenting order?”. Separated parents can file for a contravention application if a party is not complying with parenting orders.
NotablyFor instance, the NSW Police are unable to deal with contravening parenting orders unless imprisonment is necessary. This can make it difficult for parents attempting to co-parent in accordance with parenting orders.
The Family Law Act 1975 provides parents with the choice of choosing mediation to resolve conflicts. In mediation, both parents will make an effort to resolve issues from the contravention. However, if mediation is not successful, laws provide the ability for parties to file a Contravention Application.
A parent is deemed to have contravened a parenting order if they breached the order intentionally. This means they refuse to comply and may even prevent other involved parties from complying with the order. The different categories of contraventions that the court considers are the following:
- One party alleges a contravention but is unable to prove
- There is a proof of contravention but there is a reasonable excuse
- There has been a less serious contravention but there is no reasonable excuse
- There’s proof of serious contravention and there is no reasonable excuse
Section 70NFA Family Law Act: Reasonable Excuses
Yet, the Family Law Act allows for a defence to a contravention application. Parties defending their contravention must provide a “reasonable excuse” for the contravention. Simply, these reasonable excuses can be the following:
- Circumstances where they failed to understand their obligations
- A party holds a reasonable belief that the contravention was necessary
- The contravention was not longer than necessary to protect a person
If the court finds that there is no reasonable excuse, the court has the ability to make orders for the contravening party to:
- Attend post-separation parenting programs
- Make up time to occur between the children and the other party
- Compensate with costs
- Re-enforcing orders
Contravention applications should not be taken lightly as this includes a lot of legal proceedings. Additionally, repeated contravention can pose a grave offence to the contravening party.