When a parenting order is made, each person affected by the order must comply or follow it. For further information you should also refer to the following fact sheets Complying with orders about Children and Parenting orders - obligations, consequences and who can help. The law on contravention of orders is complicated. If a person does not obey an order, the affected person should get legal advice.

When a parenting order is made, each person affected by the order must comply or follow it. For further information you should also refer to the following fact sheets Complying with orders about Children and Parenting orders - obligations, consequences and who can help. The law on contravention of orders is complicated. If a person does not obey an order, the affected person should get legal advice.

Before you make a decision about filing any type of family law application it is advisable to obtain legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. They can also explain how the law applies to your case. The Family Relationship Advice Line can help you with free legal advice and information about services available to assist anybody with family relationship issues including information relating to family law proceedings - call 1800 050 321 (+61 7 3423 6878 if you are overseas). You should notify FRAL that you are seeking legal advice (also advise if your request is urgent). FRAL will organise a lawyer to contact you and provide a time frame. Alternatively you can obtain initial free legal advice from a Legal Aid Advice Line or a community legal centre in your state or territory. Court staff cannot give you legal advice.

What happens when a parenting order is not complied with?

You can try and resolve the dispute by attending dispute resolution - please call the Family Relationships Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or apply to the court for an order.

What are the pre-filing procedures in parenting matters?

Before you file an application with the court for parenting orders you should read the fact sheet Before you file - pre-action procedure for parenting cases (prescribed brochure)

 You must make a genuine effort to resolve the matter by family dispute resolution. Part V11 of the Family Law Act 1975 requires that an applicant obtain a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner before an application is filed. To find a family dispute resolution service provider in your local area call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or go to Family Relationship Information

For more information about family dispute resolution refer to the fact sheet Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution. In certain circumstances the court can grant an exemption from the requirement to file a certificate as indicated in the fact sheet. To apply for an exemption complete the Affidavit - non filing of family dispute resolution certificate.

For more information about family dispute resolution refer to the fact sheet Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution. In certain circumstances the court can grant an exemption from the requirement to file a certificate as indicated in the fact sheet. To apply for an exemption complete the Affidavit - non filing of family dispute resolution certificate.

Which form should I use to file an application with the court?

1) Contravention application.

This application is used when you are alleging a breach of a parenting order under Division 13A of Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975. Before filing a contravention application, you should consider the result that you want to achieve and obtain legal advice as referred to above. The remedies available from the court range from the enforcement of an order to the punishment of a person for failure to obey an order. 

To read about the what the court considers in a contravention application please see Complying with orders about Children.

To read about the what the court considers in a contravention application please see Complying with orders about Children.

You will need to file: 

Please note that you cannot file a contravention application on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Fees

There is no fee to lodge this application. It does involve going back to Court.

You must file the original and two photocopies of all documents. If there are more than two parties, make additional copies. Once you receive the sealed copies back, please arrange to serve the other party and file the service forms back with the court as proof of service. 

You can find more information in the Service kit.

You can find more information in the Service kit.

2) Apply to the court to vary the primary order if there has been a significant change of circumstances:

How do I file an application to vary the orders?

You can file an application electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal in most circumstances or by posting your application to a family law registry.

You can file an application electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal in most circumstances or by posting your application to a family law registry.

If you are filing your application in person you should have all your documents signed, witnessed (if required) and photocopied before you attend a registry to file them. There is no guarantee that Justice of the Peace services will be available in the registry if you attend to file them in person.

How do I file electronically?

You can file electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal in most circumstances.

You can file electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal in most circumstances.

See also:

What forms do I need to complete if I am going to file at a registry?

  1. Initiating Application with supporting Affidavit.
  2. Certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner or Affidavit - non-filing of family dispute resolution. Please refer to Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution.
  3. If you are alleging family violence or a risk of family violence and/or child abuse or risk of child abuse you must file a Notice of Risk. You may wish to obtain legal advice and also refer to Sections 67Z and 67ZBA of the Family Law Act 1975, and Rule 2.04D of the Family Law Rules 2004.
  1. Initiating Application with supporting Affidavit.
  2. Certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner or Affidavit - non-filing of family dispute resolution. Please refer to Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution.
  3. If you are alleging family violence or a risk of family violence and/or child abuse or risk of child abuse you must file a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Form 4). You may wish to obtain legal advice and also refer to Sections 67Z and 67ZBA of the Family Law Act 1975, and Rule 2.04D of the Family Law Rules 2004.

How do I file the forms at the registry?

Once the application form is completed and signed by you and the affidavit is completed and signed by you before an authorised witness you are required file the documents with a family law registry.

Once the application form is completed and signed by you and the affidavit is completed and signed by you before an authorised witness you are required file the documents with a family law registry.

What are the filing requirements?

File the original completed and signed forms plus 2 copies (extra copies are required to be filed for any further parties or if an Independent Children's Lawyer is appointed) at a family law registry.

File the original completed and signed forms plus 2 copies (extra copies are required to be filed for any further parties or if an Independent Children's Lawyer is appointed) at a family law registry.

 If filing in person - you should have all your documents signed, witnessed and photocopied before you attend a registry to file them.

Are there any fees?

Contravention application - There is no fee to lodge this application. It does involve going back to Court.

An initiating application and applying for parenting orders final only and no interim parenting orders - $330 (or $0 if you are eligible for an exemption of fees)

An initiating application and applying for parenting orders and interim parenting orders - $445* (or $0 if you are eligible for an exemption of fees)

Fees are set by government regulations, please refer to Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012 and Court Fees.

Fees are set by government regulations, please refer to Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012 and Court Fees.

Am I eligible for an exemption?

You may be eligible, please refer to the Guidelines for fee exemption.

If you are applying for a general exemption, please file  Application for exemption from fees - general (attach photocopy of documentary evidence - front and back).

If payment of the full fee will cause you financial hardship you can apply for an exemption due to financial hardship - please file Application for exemption from fees - financial hardship.

You may be eligible, please refer to the Guidelines for fee exemption.

If you are applying for a general exemption, please file  Application for exemption from fees - general (attach photocopy of documentary evidence - front and back).

If payment of the full fee will cause you financial hardship you can apply for an exemption due to financial hardship - please file Application for exemption from fees - financial hardship.

If you are asking the court for a fee exemption you must file either of the above forms when you file your application that has attracted a fee.

How do I pay the fee?

What will happen after I have filed documents with the court?

If you file the document at a registry you will receive sealed copies of the documents back once they are filed. One of these is for your records and the other one is for you to serve on the other parties and the Independent Children's Lawyer if there is one appointed.

If you have electronically filed the documents you will need to print the completed application and supporting documents so you can serve them on the other parties. You can find these documents at the Image of the Documents Filed button tab under the application filed

You will need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service (Federal Circuit Court of Australia) once you have served the documents as proof of service to the court.