Family disputes can be long and convoluted process. Settling on final court orders is often costly and at serious emotional and financial cost. When one party doesn’t follow those orders, it can be incredibly distressing and disheartening. If you believe your ex isn’t complying with the parental orders, we suggest seeking legal advice, but it is important to correctly understand the situation first.

It is vital that you effectively understand what the orders are and what the outcome should be. Although parental orders may have taken a large amount of time and money to formulate, they are not immune to a level of uncertainty or even a breach. Understanding what days or weeks for each parent may be simple on paper but can be more difficult when coming down to specifics such as what time or where change over may occur.

Accidents happen that may result in a slight change of plan within the parental orders and to agree there must be a certain flexibility unless there is a genuine risk to either party or the children involved. Allow the opportunity for your ex-partner to explain why the breach occurred, especially if the incident in question was a one off.

If a breach does occur it is important for each party, particularly for the sake of the children to try and stay calm to see if there was a reasonable issue or solution. Making sure both parties clearly understand the parental orders allows for a more streamlined and amicable situation which is undoubtedly best for the whole family.

If you believe your ex-partner may be deliberately breaching parental orders and it continues to occur, it is important you seek legal advice. Typically ,the first step is attempting mediation (unless there is a risk of harm issue). Organising a mediation allows for a semi informal format that brings together all parties to discuss what the issue is and whether or not the orders are working as intended for both parties or there has been a change in circumstances that has resulted in the breach.

Failing reasonable discussion and mediation you may be able to file an application for contravention in the Family Law Courts and prosecute the breach. Your ex may admit or deny the breach. If the breach is admitted, your ex may attempt to bring a defence of “reasonable excuse”.

If you believe your ex-partner may be violating the parenting orders it is important that you speak with a family law solicitor as soon as possible. Please contact BurkeMead if you have any concerns or are seeking advice about how best to proceed.