Have you been served with an interim Domestic Violence Order?
You may be feeling confused or upset. Perhaps overwhelmed by or frustrated at being prevented from doing certain things. It’s ok because you have options but there is a process involved. It must be noted that the contents of this article is provided as a guide only and is not a substitute for obtaining independent legal advice about your specific circumstances.
Ensure you comply
There may be serious consequences for breaching such an Order, including criminal penalties so the first step is to ensure that you comply with the interim Order. Complying with the Order may mean that you cannot contact the applicant (the person who obtained the Order), and in some cases, your children.
Read the Order Carefully
If you do not understand it, contact a lawyer for immediate advice. If the Order prevents you from spending time with your children, you should not delay in obtaining legal advice about your options.
Notice of Proceedings
You will have been provided with a “Notice of Proceedings” at the time the Order was served on you. This document tells you when the matter will be heard again before the Court. If you want to object to the Order, you will need to attend Court on that day.
At Court, you will participate in a “Registrar’s Conference” but you won’t be required to be in the same room as the applicant. You may have a lawyer represent you at the Conference. The Registrar will move between you and the other party (the applicant) to undertake “shuttle” negotiations. You will be presented with options to resolve the proceedings without the need for a hearing. Those options include agreeing to the Order on a “without admissions” basis or providing an undertaking. If you have a lawyer present, they will advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of these options. The Registrar cannot provide you with legal advice.
If you do not wish to be represented at the Conference, you should obtain specific advice about your options prior to attending the Conference. There may be consequences in agreeing to an Order, such as compromising government security clearance or being unable to hold a gun license while an Order is in force. The making of an Order may also impact any family law parenting matters. Contact one of our team members to discuss your circumstances or to arrange court represenation.
Unresolved Conference Proceedings
If the proceedings cannot be resolved at the Conference, the proceedings will need to be set down for a hearing before a Magistrate on another day.
If you do not wish to object to the Order and are content for it to be made into a Final Order, you can complete the paperwork enclosed with the interim Order and return it to the Court. You will not be required to attend Court. A Final Order will then be made in the same terms as the interim Order. If you are unhappy with an aspect of the interim Order, you should not take this option. You should attend the Conference to discuss and negotiate the terms of the Order before it is made a Final Order.
You need to know that doing nothing may result in the interim Order being made a Final Order. If you do not complete the paperwork or do not attend Court, the Order will be made in your absence.
To arrange an appointment with one of our lawyers, contact our office on (02) 6212 7600.
Jacquelyn Curtis is Lawyer at Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson Family Law Specialists, 18 Kendall Lane, New Acton, Canberra ACT 2601 and can be contacted on (02) 6212 7600.