When parenting or property orders are made, each person must follow the orders. If one person has not complied with an order, you should seek legal advice before deciding what to do.
When your former partner is breaking court orders you have a few options:
- Have a lawyer write a letter to your former partner outlining your concerns and attempt to rectify the breach and stop future breaches
- Arrange or suggest mediation to attempt to rectify the breach
- If it is a serious breach, file proceedings with court for contravention of the order and enforcement of the breach.
Writing a letter
It is always advisable to try and solve your issues out of court first. If your former partner receives a letter from a lawyer outlining your concerns, then your issue may be able to be resolved. If this option does not work or want to take a more interactive approach, then you can consider mediation.
Attending a privately-run mediation, with lawyers assisting you, may help to resolve the issue. Mediations are run by a non-biased third party who can help parties to resolve matters. It can help to try to see the matter from the other party’s perspective and attending mediation may assist with this process in order to reach a new agreement or compromise. If you feel you cannot compromise, or the other party will not compromise, then the only option may be to take the matter back to court.
When it comes to parenting order, prior to consideration of court proceedings it is always a good idea to consider Mediation/ Family dispute resolution. This shows the court you made a genuine effort to resolve the issues. It is also much more expensive to file an application in the court and in doing so; you leave the decision making to a third party (Judge).
If there is a serious or continuous breach of the orders you can apply to the court for enforcement of the breach by way of a contravention application.
If you apply to the court for a contravention application, the court can do a number of things including enforcement of an order, varying the orders or applying a punishment for failing to obey an order. This punishment could be a cash penalty or a community-based order. You should consider what you want to achieve before you make the application.
If your matter is a property matter, and the other party is refusing to sign a document for a sale of a house for example, the existing orders may allow a registrar of the court to sign that document.
Before you decide what to do, it is advisable to seek legal advice to discuss all of your options. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and explain how the law applies to your case. A lawyer can also help you reach an agreement without going to court.
If your former partner is not complying with a Court Order and you would like to know your options, please call our office to speak with one of our skilled Family Law lawyers.