Mother jailed for 4 months for contravention
In the recent case ofB & D,
Federal Magistrate Jarrett jailed the mother for 4 months for breaching orders of the Family Court to allow the father to spend time with the children on the first occasion following a trial, and making a final order for the children to live with the father.
It should be noted that the length of time in jail, under the Family Law Act, is not subject to the usual reduction of time with State laws, meaning that 4 months is 4 months.
The mother had previously been subject to a bond for an earlier breach. His Honour was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she would not comply with the orders of the Family Court and that it was not appropriate to suspend the term of imprisonment.
She was living 5 hours away from the contact centre. She claimed that she could not afford to take the children, although she had transport and the father did not.
The mother cannot say she was not warned. This is what Jordan J told her at the trial:
I acknowledge that imposes some financial hardship upon the mother. It is a hardship that should have been in the mother’s contemplations when she chose to move five hours away and that she may be required, and, indeed, that she was so required at the time she unilaterally moved to facilitate the children’s relationship with their father. Accordingly, without denying the reality of the hardship, it is something the mother now needs to deal with in terms of meeting her obligations to care for the children and to facilitate the children’s relationship with their father, which is one of her primary responsibilities. It is on that basis that I propose to make those orders.
If you defy the orders of the Court, then you will have the bear the consequences. Otherwise, there is no purpose in having Courts. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop the father from taking these two children from you and going into hiding. The only thing that stands between you and that prospect is the authority of the Court. If people cannot reach agreement, they come to Court. People must abide by the orders of this Court or there is anarchy. You do not want that, the father does not want that, the children do not need it, and I will not tolerate it. Adjourn the Court, thank you.