Contravention of children’s orders: Federal Magistrates Court

Contravention of children’s orders: Federal Magistrates Court

Federal Magistrate Altobelli recently summarised the postion of “reasonable excuse” in the Federal Magistrates Court case of Chilton and Chilton for those who breach children’s orders.

The child lived with the mother and had been ordered to have time with the father. The issue was whether the mother had a reasonable excuse in contravening the orders.

Altobelli FM held that the mother did not have a reasonable excuse, stating:

The authorities make it quite clear that there was a clear obligation cast on
the mother to take reasonable steps to deliver the child in accordance with the
order: Stavros & Stavros (1984) FLC 91-562. The orders created positive obligations on her, requiring a genuine commitment to compliance, which is inconsistent with allowing the child to make his own decision about whether or not to have contact with his father: O’Brien & O’Brien [1992] FamCA 52; (1993) FLC 92-396. The respondent mother cannot claim that she sincerely believes that the order was contrary to the welfare of [X] as a reasonable excuse for contravening the order: Gaunt & Gaunt (1978) FLC 90-468.

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Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board