What happens when a mother is not complying with a court order?

mother is not complying with a court order

What happens when a mother is not complying with a court order?

While some people might be under the impression that the consequences differ between a mother or father breaching a parenting order, this is far from the truth.

Failing to comply with court orders is a serious breach of the law, regardless of which parenting is involved. And depending on the severity of the breach, the consequence could vary from a good behavior bond to hefty fines and potential imprisonment. Yes, that’s right, someone could go to jail for not complying with a court order.

In this blog, we’ll cover the different court order breaches that commonly occur, why they may occur and what you need to know about contravention proceedings.

What constitutes a breach of a court order?

A parenting order can be breached in different ways and is usually referred to as a contravention. Here are some examples of when a father or mother is not complying with a court order that may lead to a contravention:

  • When a party does not comply with parts of the parenting order
  • When a party fails to comply with anything in a parenting order
  • An involved party doesn’t make a genuine attempt to comply with the order (fails to meet requirements due to lack of trying)
  • Interfering with court order requirements or preventing compliance of the other party

Now, these may seem a bit generalised. But in reality, they will present examples like these:

  • A mother is not complying with a court order or even a part of the court order that she results in restricting the time a child spends with the other party. 
  • A mother is not complying with a court order that interferes with the other parent not obtaining information from schools or doctors.

Can there be an excuse for when a mother is not complying with a court order?

Yes, a mother who is not complying with a court order may have a reasonable excuse for not doing so.

Although a reasonable excuse doesn’t necessarily mean a mother not complying with court orders won’t face consequences, it may put the situation in perspective. Some of the reasonable excuses for a mother not complying with court orders include:

  • The person genuinely does not understand the conditions and requirements of the court order
  • The mother fears for the safety of herself or her child – i.e breaching the court order for safety reasons

What are your next steps if your children’s father or mother is not complying with court orders?

If a mother or father is interfering with the court orders and preventing your relationship with your child to flourish or is affecting parenting arrangements in any other way that is in breach of the court order, you can take a couple of different approaches:

  • Reach out to the other parent via lawyers and attempt to reach an agreement
  • File a contravention application so the court can review and make up for any loss on your part
  • File seeking orders with the court so that a judge can review the current parenting orders or issue new ones

Contravention proceedings

If you file a contravention application, here’s what you need to keep in mind during the contravention proceedings:

  • The party who files the application is the applicant; the other party is the respondent
  • The application can get dismissed if you cannot prove the breach in court orders
  • The application can get dismissed if the respondent argues that they had a reasonable excuse to breaching the order

What the court can do if your children’s mother is not complying with parenting orders

If the court finds that a parenting order has been breached by a parent, it can:

  • Allocate time to compensate for the time missed by the other party
  • Issue a good behavior bond with the party in breach for up to two years
  • Have the respondent attend counseling or a parenting course
  • Impose a fine on the respondent
  • Imprison the person in breach of a parenting order
  • Order the respondent to pay the applicant’s legal costs
  • Change the current parenting orders

If a father or mother is not complying with court orders and you want sound advice on how to proceed, consulting a good family lawyer is a good place to start. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential consultation or a second opinion.

 

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