Intervention Order Lawyers

Intervention Order Lawyer

The intersections with family law

When Family Violence has an Impact Upon Family Law

The reality is that there is often a correlation between the breakdown of a relationship and a spike in family violence incidents, which have a significant impact upon the adults and children concerned. Even children who aren’t direct witnesses to family violence often bear the brunt of the consequences.

The Family Law Act 1975 (Commonwealth) defines family violence as violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful. This definition relates to physical abuse, including but not limited to assault, sexual assault, and also non-physical abuse, including but not limited to stalking, verbal and psychological abuse. In addition to the more prominent forms of family violence there is another form of abuse: financial abuse; this relates to the withholding of financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member.

The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 gives power to the Victorian Courts to make an Interim Intervention Order or Final Intervention Order. An Intervention Order is an Order made by the Court protecting an individual, or several individuals (referred to as Affected Persons) from another individual (referred to as the Respondent). There are two types of Intervention Orders: Family Violence Intervention Orders and Personal Safety Intervention Orders (which are made when Respondents are a non-family member of the Affected Person).

An Interim Intervention Order is made by a Magistrate where the Court is satisfied that it is necessary to ensure the safety of an affected family member. To make a Final Intervention Order the Court is must determine whether family violence has been committed and if it is likely to occur again. Some examples of the conditions that a Court may include in an Interim or Final Intervention are that a Respondent must not:

  • Commit family violence against an affected person;
    Intentionally damage any property of a protected person;
  • Attempt to locate or follow an affected person;
  • Publish on the internet any material about an affected person;
  • Contact or communicate with an affected person by any means; and/or
  • Go within a specified distance of where an affected person lives, works or attends school.

There are a number of exceptions to the above conditions that may be ordered by the Court, for example communication might be permitted but only by SMS or email on the basis that no family violence is committed. The exceptions can help parties to resolve their parenting or property issues.

If you, or someone you know, are the victim of family violence, you may wish to obtain the protection of an Intervention Order. An application for an Intervention Order can be made before or after parties have separated, depending on the circumstances. If you are a Respondent to an Intervention Order, you may wish to obtain advice about your obligations and the broader legal implications of the Order.

Family Law Sections that Relate to Intervention Orders

It is important to be mindful of the following provisions within the Family Law Act that relate to Intervention Orders and such proceedings.

  • Section 68R(1) of the Family Law Act: prescribes that Magistrates’ Courts have the power to suspend or reinstate a parenting order to the extent that it requires or authorises a person to spend time with a child.

  • Section 68P of the  Family Law Act: This allows the Family Court or Federal Magistrates’ Court to make an order or further order which is inconsistent with a family violence order, i.e. it can rescind the order to the extent necessary to rectify any inconsistency. The problem with this is that interim family violence orders can be implemented much faster than a family court order, which can take several weeks.

  • Section 60CC(3)(k) of the Family Law Act: A final finding of fact or a finding by consent made at an intervention order hearing allows relevant inferences to be drawn in determining what is in the best interests of the child who is the subject of a custody battle. This makes it advantageous for the other party to seek an intervention order prior to settling family court proceedings.

  • Section 82 of the Family Violence Protection Act: This states that parties can have other parties excluded from the matrimonial home. If an interim order is granted then this could remain the status quo for 6 – 12 months until a final finding of fact is made in relation to the order.

The Next Steps

Should you have Family Law or Intervention Order proceedings on foot, and would like advise or representation, please feel free to contact our office on (03) 8391 8411 to discuss your matter with one of our expert family law and family violence lawyers.

Please note that this article contains general information and should not be considered as legal advice. It is important to speak with a lawyer that can provide advice relevant to your specific circumstances.

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