Do Not Comply With Parenting Orders

In complicated child custody disputes, the Australian family court may impose detailed parenting orders that outline the responsibilities and rights of each parent. In general, these are designed to be easy to follow, and most parents don’t have any problems with them, although a consultation with an experienced family lawyer can be advisable.

However, people don’t always agree with parenting orders, and it’s not uncommon for a parent to put their interests ahead of the child’s. But, what can happen if you don’t comply with a court-imposed parenting order?

Well, in the rest of this article, we’re going to have a closer look at just that. We’ve outlined some of the consequences of not following a parenting order, along with other relevant information.

Is a Parenting Order Legally Binding?

If your parenting order has been imposed by a court, then it will absolutely be legally binding. This means that there can be significant ramifications if you break it. Ultimately, family courts are responsible for making sure their orders are followed, and there are consequences for breaking them.

What Will Happen if I Don’t Comply With a Parenting Order?

If you don’t comply with a parenting order, you risk serious legal problems. There are a few different situations which result in the breach of a parenting order, including:

  • Anytime the order is intentionally ignored.
  • If no reasonable attempt is made to comply.
  • When a person intentionally prevents someone else from complying.
  • When someone helps a person break an order they are bound by.

In reality, parenting orders are generally clear and self-explanatory. If you decide not to comply, you risk:

  • Having the initial parenting order rewritten in the other parent’s favour.
  • Being forced to pay significant legal costs.
  • Being made to pay compensation to the other party.
  • Having to pay a fine.
  • Being imprisoned for a period of time.

Note, however, that someone can only be penalised if an application is filed alleging that they intentionally breached a parenting order.

What if I Want to Fight a Parenting Order?

Even if you don’t agree with a parenting order, you should never knowingly break it. Doing so will effectively eliminate the chances of you getting the outcome you want. Instead, you should go through the appropriate steps to get the order changed. Alternatively, you can work with the other parent to develop a parenting plan. When a parenting plan is developed, the status of a parenting order can sometimes be changed.

A Case Study

There are numerous examples of the possible penalties of not complying with a parenting order. In the case of Ridgely & Stiller [2014]FCCA2668, a child’s mother regularly breached the conditions of a parenting order, preventing the child from seeing their father. The father made a complaint, which resulted in the court changing the parenting order so that the child lived with him, rather than with the mother.

Final Word

In short, parenting orders are serious and legally binding, and you should do everything in your power to comply with them. Remember that they are put in place by a court, and are generally designed with the child’s best interests at heart. If you do fail to comply with a parenting order, you can expect serious consequences. These can vary from fines and jail time to losing any custody privileges you might have.