Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Enforcement of Contact Orders in Australia

The Australian Child Support system, on which the UK CSA is modelled, has provoked an angry backlash from fathers because of the high maintenance levels which it set. It seems that when they realised just how much they were going to pay for children who they might be prevented from seeing, many fathers decided to fight for custody.

The Australians have now had to admit that if they are going to enforce maintenance payments, they have to do something about enforcing contact orders. The Australian Family Law Amendment Act 1989, which came into force on 25 January 1990 provides a range of sanctions to apply when contact orders are flouted:

These may appear drastic measures, but if they are the only way of making sure that the primary residential parent faces up to their responsibilities and ensures that the child has contact with the other parent, then so be it.

With an election on the horizon, this might just be the time to approach your MP and seek assurances about the introduction and support for such a move.


The Australian sanctions are little more than those proposed by Lord Justice Balcombe in his keynote address at the FNF AGM in March 1988, which were then put in action by Judge Appleby in September 1988 when he imprisoned Mrs Cox for a week for obstructing access - a decision upheld by the court of Appeal by Lord Justice Lloyd and Mr Justice Hollins in February 1989.

David Cannon

Last updated - 22 March 1999

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