Relevance of Intervention Orders on Family Law Parenting Proceedings
A Family Violence Intervention Order is made in the Magistrates’ Court pursuant to the Family Violence Intervention Act 2008 (VIC). The main issues the Court determines in making an Intervention Order of this kind are whether there has been family violence, and whether it is likely to occur again.
The Family Law Act provides that the Court must be informed of any family violence Order that has been made in relation to a party in the proceedings or a child of the proceedings, although failure to inform the Court does not affect the validity of any Order made by the Court. In addition, the Court must ensure any Order it makes is consistent with a family violence order and does not expose a person to an unacceptable risk of family violence. It is important to remember, however, that the best interests of the child remain the paramount consideration for the Court, therefore if the Court, upon following the legislative pathway, considers the best interests of the child requires a parenting Order that the child spends time with a parent, such Order is enforceable despite the existence of a family violence order naming the child.
However, where a Family Law Court has made a parenting Order, it is possible to apply to the Magistrates Court pursuant to s 68R of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to vary, discharge or suspend the parenting Order to the extent to which it provides for a child to spend time with a person, but only where the Court also makes or varies a family violence Order, and has material before it that was not before the Family Law Court making the initial parenting Order.
A family violence Order also provides evidence of family violence in the relationship, and can contribute to the argument that a child is at an unacceptable risk of harm in the offending parent’s unsupervised care. Most importantly however, it provides interim and/or final protection to those who have suffered family violence and in a lot of cases, is the first step towards a safer future for the affected parties.
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