What is a Contravention Application and Should I Bring It Before the Court

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A Contravention Application is an application that is made to the court claiming that another party is not in compliance with a court order.  The goal of bringing a Contravention Application before the court is to force compliance and, sometimes, to get a remedy for the past failure to follow a court order.


Contravention Applications are commonly brought before the court after a separation or after a divorce when one parent is not following custody arrangements or is otherwise disregarding court orders put in place at the time when a marriage ended or the parents separated.  Custody orders are often aggressively negotiated, and a failure to follow those orders can thwart the efforts parents made to come to an agreement that protected each parent’s relationships with shared children.


If your ex spouse or the other parent to your child is not following court requirements for shared custody or is otherwise not respecting a court order, you should strongly consider bringing a Contravention Application before the court in order to protect your rights and to protect your children. OHL Lawyers can carefully review your situation and can help you to determine if you have a case to bring to court and if going before the court is your best option.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you pursue legal remedies for a failure to follow court orders.


Why You Should Consider Bringing a Contravention Application Before the Court


There are many reasons that it makes sense to bring a Contravention Application before the court to alert the court to a failure to follow orders. Some of the benefits of making such an application to the court include the following:


  • The court can make clear that orders must be followed.


When you bring a Contravention Application before the court, the other party is going to have to appear in court. The Court will impress upon your ex or the other parent that court orders are actually legally enforceable and must be followed. Having to go to court and listen to a judge can convince the contravening party not to continue the bad behavior in the future.


  • The court may impose a remedy or a penalty.


The court may order make up time if you were deprived of time with your kids due to the contravention of a custody order.  Parents may be required to attend parenting courses when appropriate to resolve parenting issues. The court could also order the original order be changed if it becomes clear it is not working for the family.  In some cases, the contravening party could also be placed on a bond, required to perform community service, or even imprisoned.  The court-imposed remedies can ensure you get benefits you were denied by the contravening party, while penalties can deter future flouting of the court’s orders.


When you bring a Contravention Application before the court, the party arguing against the application can provide evidence showing that no such contravention of court orders occurred or can provide a reasonable justification for failure to follow the court order.  For example, if a parent is accused of contravening a court order but there is documented medical evidence showing the child was seriously ill at the time court-ordered visitation was missed, the court may determine the parent acted appropriately.


Even in situations where there is a reasonable excuse for the contravention, however, the court may still order a remedy like makeup time.  When there was no contravention of an existing court order, however, the court does not have the authority to make a new order to replace the existing one.


Before bringing a Contravention Application before the court, you should carefully consider whether the matter is serious enough for the court to interfere. If there was a single missed visit for a justifiable reason, for example, you likely do not want to waste your time or the court’s time bringing a Contravention Application.


You should also consider whether a Contravention Application is the best way to remedy problems that you are having. In some cases, for example, the existing court order will simply not be working out for your family. When this happens, a Contravention Application is not the best choice- instead, it makes more sense to bring an Application to change the Order rather than an Application to punish non-compliance.


OHL Lawyers can provide assistance with determining if you should bring a Contravention Application and can also provide you with assistance with the process of moving forward with appropriate court action when your divorce or custody orders are not being followed or are no longer working for your family. Call us today at 1800 770 780 or contact us via [email protected] to get legal help protecting your rights and your relationship with your children.

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