A common issue in family law matters concerning property settlements and parenting orders is when one partner is not complying with court orders.
This article will summarise a few common scenarios where not complying with court orders can have consequences for the party contravening the orders and what options the aggrieved party has as available to them as a solution.
General Overview of Not Complying With Court Orders
The court requires each party to legally comply with court orders, except when there is an agreement to vary or until the court modifies the orders. Accordingly, not complying with court orders or any breach is a highly serious matter capable of attracting significant consequences.
Where a property agreement has been breached or made an order by the court, this can involve an application before a registrar to have the document signed on behalf of the incompliant party. Additionally, most orders have a provision for default, which has the effect of enabling, for example, a solution such as the sale of a property if the other party does not pay or remove the other party’s name from a mortgage.
Risks of Not complying With Court Orders – Property matters
If one party does not comply with the court orders, the court may set aside any previous orders and make new ones. Assuming the property value was to go down during this time substantially, this could result in a situation where the court would be unwilling to set aside orders. It would ultimately reward the party who was in default.
The key takeaway is that the consequences of not complying with court orders can be quite expensive, resulting in you having to pay much more than you initially anticipated. Therefore, compliance is always the best measure. However, if compliance is not possible – obtaining legal and financial advice as soon as possible can still end up saving you a significant amount of time and money.
The most typical issues concerning parenting orders are failures to attend and comply, such as arriving late or early for changeovers. In these instances, the party alleging that non-compliance can file an application for contravention of the orders.
A person breaches a parenting order when they either:
1. Do not comply with the order intentionally, period
2. Do not make a reasonable attempt to comply with the order
3. When they intentionally prevent compliance with the order by a person is bound by the order
4. When they aid or abet an infringement of the order by a person is bound by the order
However, it should be noted that these orders’ contraventions are difficult legal arguments to establish.
What Happens if a Parenting Order Is Breached?
If one party files an application alleging that the other party did not comply with the court order, the court may penalise the contravening party. For this to occur, the aggrieved party must file for a breach of a parenting order in the following way:
The first steps involving filing a contravention application with a supporting affidavit. Secondly, you will need a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner or an ‘Affidavit – non-filing of family dispute resolution certificate’.
As the steps involved can be rather complex, it is highly recommended you seek the guidance of a family law professional to ensure everything is done correctly.
Are the Current Orders Not Working?
The current orders in place may no longer be relevant or practical in your circumstances. Despite this, it is always better to attempt to resolve the issue with the other party rather than simply not complying with court orders, resulting in action being taken against you and unnecessary drama amongst yourselves.
Despite this, sometimes, a party will not comply with court orders and be unwilling to have an informal discussion with you to resolve the issues. In such instances, the best course of action would be to attempt to resolve the issue through a mediation session to identify any genuine difficulties resulting in their lack of compliance and try to fix these issues to permit the orders to function properly.
In other cases, the issues may be because of a different perception of what the orders mean. Again, such issues can simply be resolved by discussing them with the other party and seeking a neutral third party such as a family lawyer to clarify the interpretation of the orders.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to note when your former partner is not complying with court orders that you do not sleep on your legally enforceable rights and understand your options.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions regarding another party not complying with court orders or any other family law matters, check out our blog section for some more informative articles on a wide range of family law-related topics.
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