What happens if you breach (contravene) a Court Order

Have you breached the Court Order 



First, find out whether you might have actually breached (contravened) a Court Order by reading the information sheet When is a Court Order breached.


What a Court will do about breaches (contraventions) of a Court Order

If a Court finds that you breached (contravened) an Order without a ‘reasonable excuse’, the penalty will depend on the type of breach (contravention) and the particulars of your own case.

Essentially, what a Court will do will depend on:



  • whether the breach is a minor or a major breach (a major breach might be not letting the other parent see the child at all);
  • how many times you have breached the Court Order (once only, multiple times or a permanent ongoing breach);
  • why you have breached the Court Order;
  • the personal circumstances of your own case.


You should know the information in our information sheet as to when you may have an excuse for being in breach (contravention) of a Court Order that the Court will accept.

The Court might only issue a warning (for a minor breach) or for a more serious or repeated breach, they may Order you to:

  • Attend a post-separation parenting program.
  • Pay a fine.
  • Pay all or some of the legal costs of the other side.
  • Pay compensation or reasonable expenses lost as a result of the breach (contravention).
  • Participate in community service.
  • Enter into a bond.
  • Be imprisoned.


Other things the Court can also do when they are looking at what to do after a Court Order has been breached include:

  • Change (vary) the Order.
  • Suspend the Order.
  • Discharge the Order.
  • Renew some or all of an earlier Order.
  • Make an Order compensating the other person for lost time with a child.
  • Adjourn the matter to allow either side to apply for a further (different) Order to be put in place.


Breaching Court or Consent Orders – More Information

The court will need to have before them, evidence of any breach of a Court Order. You can read our information sheet How do you prove a breach of a Court Order.

To get a court to do something after a breach of a Court Order read our information sheet How do I make a Contravention Application.


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