What is a Contravention Application?
Something I’m often asked, is “how do CONTRAVENTION Applications work?”.
The families I support are often in the midst of arguments, tantrums, stand-off’s and sometimes parental alienation.
Many families see this co-parenting stuff as a high stakes game. It’s all about competing, comparison, owndership, one-up-manship, tit-for-tat and pick-up-your-game.
Some families will fight about anything – from changeover location or time, to children’s shoes, clothes, nappies, formula, lunch boxes and uniforms. There is no topic too petty.
Usually, the advice I give focuses on that classic song from the Disney extravaganza ‘Frozen’. You know the one … it begins with piano, then jingle sounds … “The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen”. How does the chorus go? Sing it for me – Let it go, let it go!
It’s called an earworm, and it will be stuck in your head for days! You’re welcome. (bwah ha ha ha ha ha) Hold on, there was a point here somewhere. Oh, that’s right.
What do you do when you REALLY can’t let it go?
What if it is ongoing and disrupting time with your children?
You contemplate lodging a contravention application.
How do contravention applications work? Contravention applications are two pronged.
1. Was there a contravention?
2. If yes, was the contravention reasonable?
1. Is fairly self explanatory. If yes, go to 2. If no, the application is dismissed.
2. Was the contravention reasonable? Were they late due to traffic, illness etc? Did the phone calls fail to happen due to ill-timing; poor management etc
If yes, contravention reasonable; dismissed.
If no, contravention NOT reasonable, what remedy has been asked?
Usually, the remedy is equal to what was lost – make-up time/phone calls/clothes replaced etc.
Your contravention application will carry more weight if there are repeated issues. Petty issues won’t be tolerated at all. The Court has many serious matters to deal with, they don’t like having their time spent on trivial matters. A Registrar will likely deal with contraventions.
There is a likelihood you’ll be sent to conciliation / mediation to sort it out.
Remember, if you each have responsibility for the day-to-day needs of the children, what the other parent does when the child is with them is up to them. You cannot control what happens in the other home – regardless of whether it’s below your expectation or standards of care. As long as it’s not neglect or abuse, it’s up to the other parent.
But if you’re suppose to have phone calls or time, those issues that relate to actual contact with a child ARE worth pursuing in certain situations if there are repeated violations.
There is also a difference between a contravention application and a recovery order. If you’ve more Q’s on this topic, get in touch.
There’s another song called Let It Go. It’s from an album called Chaos and the Calm, by James Bay. It’s nowhere near as catchy as the Disney song of the same title, but James ‘Let it go’ has this chorus …
“If this is all we’re living for, why are we doing it anymore?
I use to recognise myself, it’s funny how reflections change.
I think it’s time to walk away. So, c’mon, let it go … just let it be.
Why don’t you be you and I’ll be me.”
THAT my friends, is the key here. We’re different. Different doesn’t need to be worse. Different can be scary, but it doesn’t mean bad. It’s just different. Your children will be okay if both their parents are different. What they won’t do well with, is conflict, comparison, competition between their parents. Find the you, you use to be. Walk away. Let the snow thaw, the sun rise on a new day, and let it go….
**Please remember, this is general information and not a substitute for specialist family law advice specific to your circumstances.