Domestic violence has a big effect in family law proceedings. There are 3 main ways we get involved in domestic violence issues:
- Intervention orders, (aka IVO’s, Apprehended Violence orders, AVO’s, personal safety notices).
- Arguing that impact of domestic Violence on property cases increases the entitlement.
- Arguing that Domestic Violence should influence children’s custody and access.
Intervention orders (IVO’s) are very effective tool in the right circumstances, and we advise their use, and sometimes we must fight against unfair IVO’s too. This is probably one of the areas that challenges us to use all of our skills as caring people and experienced hard-nosed objective lawyers.
Victorian Law through the Parliament states that is typically men who commit violence against women, so in our discussion below we apologise if the somewhat sexist language we have used offends. We know there is often two sides to a story. It’s our job to tell our client’s side. We generally get involved in Intervention Orders where an IVO is impacting on children’s time with a parent, or a jointly owned house is off limits to one party.
We are able to advise when and how to get an Intervention Order and whether to get one urgently, with all the protections, or, alternatively whether to get the order that will get the problem solved, but allow a relationship between parent and child.
Our strategy, now that you are separated is to assess the prospect of future violence, or the prospect of allegations of violence and then look at the big picture -which is the best interests of children, and a property settlement. We find both victims and alleged perpetrators gain little in the Magistrates’ court proceedings and try to get out of there with the right IVO as soon as possible and focus your legal budget where it gets more value – settling the children’s and property issues.
When acting for the mother we like to get the order that protects and puts decision making about children and the house and all the power in our client.
When we act for a Father who can’t see his children because of an Intervention order our general strategy is to get the IVO proceedings over as soon as possible and get back to the big picture – the best interests of children, and if a fight is necessary, the Family Court or Federal Circuit court is a better venue, where the law and emphasis is about the best interests of children.
What should I do now?
There are a number of options available to you in relation to Family Violence Orders. It is important that you:
- Carefully read and understand the conditions of the order;
- Comply with the conditions of the order;
- Attend court; and
Obtain legal advice from a lawyer before your first (and hopefully last) court attendance.