Amending Domestic Violence Orders

Domestic Violence Orders can be made by a court in Australia for a period of time that they deem to be appropriate. This decision will be influenced by the risk factors involved, the Application itself and the age of any children listed as protected persons on the Application. The most common length of time that an Order is in force is for 12 months, however, an Order may be made for 5 years or more. The circumstances of the parties 5 years from the date of the Order may be quite unforeseeable to the parties themselves, their legal representatives and the Judge being asked to make the Order.

The Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 provides a process for domestic violence orders to be amended by way of an application from the protected person, or the defendant. If a defendant is seeking to vary the DVO, they must apply to the Court for leave to do so, meaning they must seek the approval of the Court before proceeding on to the application to vary the DVO. Leave will only be granted to the defendant if there has been ‘a substantial change in the relevant circumstances’ since the making of the DVO in question. The types of substantial changes that would be considered by the Court include for example, the defendant completing a rehabilitation or perpetrator’s programme.

Another example worth discussing is that of changed care arrangements for children. The approved form issued by the Local Court of the Northern Territory for an Application for a Domestic Violence Order includes at Section 4, exceptions to the orders sought by the applicant that provide for the defendant to, among others, adhere to the terms of a family law order or parenting plan without being in breach of the conditions of the DVO. If at the time of the making of the DVO, those exception boxes are not selected by the applicant and not requested by the defendant during negotiations, the defendant may later be in breach of the DVO should they wish to commence the process of seeking parenting orders. Therefore, a variation to the DVO will need to be sought by the defendant for those exceptions to be included, before commencing the process of seeking parenting orders through the family law system.

Ward Keller can assist both defendants and protected persons to make an application to the Local Court of the Northern Territory seeking a variation to the conditions of a DVO.

For more information have a look at our Criminal Law page by clicking the below link: https://www.wardkeller.com.au/areas-of-law/personal/criminal-law/

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