A member asked over 7 years ago

Variation to vro

My ex and i have separated and still to go through family court. She moved out of my house to stay with friends about 6 weeks ago and got granted a vro after lying in court. Now she wants it varied so she lives in my house and i have to move out. I owned the house before she came along. We were together about 6 years and have a 4 year old. Family court proceedings are in a month but the vary is next week. What are her chances and do i need a lawyer to represent me or is it clear cut?

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. In NSW, an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order made by a court against a person (the defendant) who makes another person (the applicant) fear for their safety, or to protect the applicant from violence, intimidation or harassment. An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is a type of AVO that applies when the applicant and defendant are or were living together or in a relationship.

Once an AVO is made by a court, either the applicant or defendant can apply to vary the AVO if there has been a change in circumstances. However, if children are named on the AVO (i.e. they are also protected by the AVO), then only the police can apply to have the AVO varied, unless the court grants special permission for the applicant or defendant to seek a variation.

In making or varying an AVO, a court can impose any kind of prohibition or restriction on the defendant’s behaviour as is necessary to ensure the safety and protection of the applicant from domestic or personal violence. Specifically, the court can prohibit or restrict the defendant’s access to any premises occupied or frequented by the applicant, regardless of whether the defendant owns the premises. This means that, even though you are the legal owner of your house, the court may consider it appropriate to restrict or prohibit your access to the house if your ex-partner ordinarily lives at or otherwise frequents the house.

At the variation hearing, you will have the opportunity to defend or challenge any variation that your ex-partner is seeking. You could argue that it is not necessary to prohibit you from living in your own house to ensure your ex-partner is protected from domestic or personal violence. In other words, there are alternative ways to ensure your ex-partner’s safety (i.e. by her living at another property).

Suggested way forward

Although you can represent yourself in AVO proceedings, the grounds on which you could defend or challenge the AVO variation application are quite technical and would be best made by a criminal or family lawyer. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer


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