When a parenting order is made, each person affected by the order must follow it. If the other person has not followed a parenting order, the following options are available:

How is a parenting order contravened (breached)?

A person breaches a parenting order, which has not been altered by a parenting plan, when they:

  1. intentionally fail to comply with the order, or
  2. makes no reasonable attempt to comply with the order, or
  3. intentionally prevents compliance with the order by a person who is bound by it, or
  4. aids or abets a contravention of the order by a person who is bound by it.

If a court decides that a person has failed to comply with an order, it will consider whether the person had a reasonable excuse for breaching the order.

What happens if a parenting order is breached?

A court can only penalise someone for failing to comply with a parenting order, which has not been altered by a parenting plan, if another person files an application alleging the person did not comply with the order.

If you breach a parenting order and you cannot be found, the court may make a location order. This order requires other people or organisations, including government departments; to give any information they have about where you and the child may be located.

If you breach a parenting order by failing to return the child as required, the court may make a recovery order.

For information about breaching a parenting order, see the fact sheet, Parenting orders – obligations, consequences and who can help and the Complying with orders section of the website.

For information about breaching a parenting order, see the fact sheet, Parenting orders – obligations, consequences and who can help and the Complying with orders section of the website.

How to file a breach of a parenting order?

To apply to the court following a breach of a parenting order, you will need to file:

  1. Contravention Application (this application cannot be eFiled through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
  2. supporting Affidavit, and/or
  3. a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner or Affidavit – non filing of family dispute resolution certificate

See the How do I – apply to the court when parenting orders have been breached or not complied with page for a step by step guide.

To apply to the court following a breach of a parenting order, you will need to file:

  1. Contravention Application (this application cannot be eFiled through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
  2. supporting Affidavit, and/or
  3. a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner or Affidavit – non filing of family dispute resolution certificate

See the How do I – apply to the court when parenting orders have been breached or not complied with page for a step by step guide.

Do I need to attend court if I file a breach of a parenting order?

If you are the person alleged to have breached a parenting order and do not attend the court hearing, orders may be made in your absence, including an order for your arrest. You can attend in person or ask a lawyer to represent you.