Getting a Contravention Application Right
Parenting Court Order impose obligations on the parents to comply with (and facilitate) the Orders that are made. When one parent fails to comply with an Order, the other parent may bring a Contravention Application against them.
The Court deals with Contravention Applications in a strict manner, due to the penalties that can be imposed. As a result, it is important to get your Contravention Application “technically” right from the start.
In a recent case, the Court dealt with a Contravention Application by the Father which alleged that the Mother had breached three parenting orders by “obstructing the organising of time between the father and the child…”. The Father’s application did not contain any specific allegations relating to any of the Orders that he alleged had been breached. The Court found it was “vague” and in “generalised terms”.
Ultimately, the Court found that the Father had not established a contravention by the Mother, on any of three counts.
A person is found to have contravened an Order where they have either:
- a) Intentionally failed to comply with the Order; or
- b) Made no reasonably attempt to comply with the Order.
When drafting a contravention application, it is important to specify whether you say the other party either intentionally failed to comply or made no reasonably attempt to comply.
An applicant in a contravention matter must show the Court that:
- a) An Order exists (whether an interim or a final order); and
- b) The respondent has contravened the Order.
You must state, clearly and concisely, the facts you rely upon to demonstrate the contravention. If you allege that more than one order has been contravened, or that an Order has been contravened, or that an Order has been contravened on more than one occasion, deal with each alleged “breach” separately. Making one statement to cover all alleged contraventions, as happened in this matter, is not advisable.