Family Law And Apprehended Violence Orders

The breakdown of a relationship can be an emotional and challenging time. Separation and the process of negotiating or litigating a resolution of parenting and/or financial matters can exacerbate tension between partners. It is common for family law matters to involve allegations of family violence and abuse and where such allegations are made, for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (“ADVO”) (sometimes referred to as a restraining order), to be applied for and/or made for the protection of one of the parties to the relationship and/or their children.

ADVOs can be applied for privately, or by the Police on behalf of a person in need of protection (PINOP). Read here for more information about how to apply for an ADVO.

Every ADVO contains the “mandatory” conditions, being that the defendant is not to assault, molest, harass, threaten, stalk or intimidate the protected person or any person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship. However, in issuing an ADVO, the Court may include such conditions or restrictions of behaviour that it deems necessary for the protection of the PINOP including prohibiting the defendant from:

  1. Contacting the PINOP in any way or limiting contact to adhere to pre-existing family law orders. Contacting the PINOP in any way or limiting contact to adhere to pre-existing family law orders.
  2. Attending within a certain distance from where the PINOP and works.
  3. Approaching the PINOP within a prescribed period of consuming drugs or alcohol.
  4. Possessing any firearms or prohibited weapons.

The making of an ADVO can impact upon your family law proceedings in a number of ways, including:

  1. The ADVO may be used as evidence in Family Law proceedings to rebut the presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility and ultimately the time your children live with you.
  2. The ADVO may be used as a reasonable excuse to suspend your children’s time with you if there are no Family Court Orders in place.

The Family Court has the power to make Family Law Orders which effectively override the terms of an ADVO – usually to allow for time with the children to still occur in protective circumstances. For example, if the terms of the ADVO provide that the defendant cannot attend at the parties’ home, but if they attend at the family home on the days and times specified in Family Court Orders to collect/ return the children this will not be a breach of the ADVO.

If you have an ADVO taken out against you, or you and your children are listed as the victim, it is important to seek advice. The team at Holmes Donnelly & Co solicitors can assist you to understand the implications of an ADVO on your Family law Matter and how to best navigate your family law matter in those circumstances.