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I am commonly asked by clients if they can see their child if there is a Domestic Violence Order in place with the other parent listed as a party. The answer to this will ultimately depend on how the Order is worded. 

A Domestic Violence Order, also known as a Protection Order, is a civil Order made by the Queensland Magistrates Court that can contain several conditions. The standard condition, which is included in every Order, is that the Respondent (the person the Order is made against) must be of good behaviour towards the Aggrieved (the person the Order is protecting) and not commit domestic violence against the Aggrieved. This condition allows for contact between the two persons but protects the Aggrieved from future acts of domestic violence. The Respondent may be charged with criminal proceedings if the Order is breached. 

Sometimes a child will be named on an Order. This will mean an additional condition will be included on the standard Order which states that the Respondent must also be of good behaviour towards the child. This does not mean the Respondent can’t see their child, but instead means they can’t perpetrate domestic violence towards or in front of the child.  

Other conditions may be added to a Domestic Violence Order, depending on the severity of the matter, which include Orders for the Respondent to be prohibited from contacting the Aggrieved or approaching within a certain distance (such as 100 metres) of the Aggrieved. This is where the question of parenting becomes a bit tricky. 

The Magistrate’s Court has recognised that a parent’s contact with their child is a matter for the Family Court, and so they have made something called a ‘family law exception’. This is an Order that allows an exception to the above-mentioned conditions so that the Respondent and Aggrieved can facilitate a relationship between the parties and the children. For example, an Order may read: 

The Respondent is prohibited from contacting or attempting to contact the Aggrieved except when having contact with the Aggrieved for the purpose of arranging contact with a child. 

This exception is not included on every Order, so it is important to check with a solicitor to ensure your Order contains the exemption before having contact with the other party or your child.