While it is always advisable for a victim of family violence to ensure they are safe from a perpetrator and to avoid any situation where contact may result in a recurrence of violence, this is not easy if there are children of the relationship. There is some evidence that the Family Law Courts are willing, at least temporarily, to suspend contact in more serious cases of violence until adequate arrangements are in place. However, it is unlikely that the Court will suspend contact indefinitely.
The best protection for a person afraid of violence is to alter the arrangements for contact so that the person need not be present when the children are collected or returned. This can be arranged through friends or relatives or someone else who can be present when the children are handed over for contact. Many people arrange for children to be picked up and returned at police stations or other public places.
Existing parenting orders can be varied to include new arrangements so that potentially violent situations may be avoided.
A State Magistrates Court may alter contact arrangements temporarily as part of an interim intervention order. If the Magistrates Court has evidence before it that was not presented to the Family Law Court then the Magistrates Court may change the parenting order as part of a final intervention order. See What can State Magistrates Courts do?
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.