Family Law Recovery of Children

If your ex has relocated or withheld your child without your consent, you need to act now.

The longer your child settles into a new parenting arrangement, the harder it is to get them back, even though the change was made without your consent.

Speak to one of our expert Family Lawyers about what you can do to immediately start the process of getting your child returned to you.

How We Help

We can help with the return of your child from a local area, interstate or internationally. We understand the urgency of your situation and prioritise your case.

We can immediately assist you by:

  • Making urgent attempts to contact your ex-partner to negotiate the recovery of your child or to negotiate new parenting or access arrangements.
  • Making Urgent Court Applications for Recovery Orders, Family Law Watchlist Orders or Passport Child Alerts.
  • Making Court Applications for Orders to assist with finding your child, where necessary, including Location Orders, Commonwealth Information Orders and Publications Orders.

Get a Specialist Recovery Lawyer on your case today

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We can arrange an urgent Smart Start Appointment via phone or teleconference if you are unable to attend our offices today.

$350.00 incl. GST 90-minute Consutation

When your child is taken away or withheld from you

If your child has been taken away or withheld from you, the Family Court has the power to make a Recovery Order – an Order that forces the other parent to bring your child back. If the other parent refuses, the Recovery Order directs the Federal Police to return your child to you.

In many cases, a parent may take or retain a child for misguided reasons or to advance their own agenda. Even if the Court ultimately finds that this was wrong, where time has passed and your child has established a new life without you, it can be difficult to change things back to how they used to be. The longer the new parenting arrangement is allowed to develop, the less likely the Family Court is to make the child encounter another change to put things back to how they used to be.

Recovery Orders

A Recovery Order is an order of the Family Court that can require that a child be returned to:

  • A parent of the child,
  • A person who the child lives with in accordance with a parenting order,
  • A person who the child spends time with or communicates with in accordance with a parenting order, or
  • A person who has parental responsibility for the child.

You can apply for a Recovery Order if you are:

  • A parent of the child,
  • A grandparent of the child; or
  • A person concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child.

The Court will make a Recovery Order if it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

There are many different and competing factors that a Court takes into consideration when determining whether a Recovery Order should be issued in relation to a child. Where there is a breach of the Orders, the Court will usually find that the child is to be returned to the parent in accordance with the Order. Occasionally, there may be reasons where the Court does not return a child to a parent in accordance with the Orders, because it would not be in the child’s best interests to do so. This might be in a case where one of the parents has made a Rice and Asplund application to the Court (this is an application for current parenting Orders to be changed).

If the Court considers that your child should be returned to you, it will provide the person who removed your child with the opportunity to agree to Court Orders for the child to be returned, including Orders for when and how the child is to be returned. If the other person does not agree to return your child, then a Recovery Order will be made.

A Recovery Order will usually authorise the Australian Federal Police to do all things necessary (including using force) to recover the child from the person who has retained the child and will prohibit that person from removing the child again.

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International Parental Child Abduction

The Australian Family Court does not have the authority to deal with parenting issues outside the Commonwealth of Australia. Once an Australian child is outside Australia without your permission and without the authorisation of a court, you may be able to get assistance under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention).

The Hague Convention is used to deal with cases of international parental child abduction. The Hague Convention is an international agreement entered into between many countries (informally called Hague countries) to provide a process between these countries for the return of child to their home country when they have been taken into another Hague country.

Only the countries that have entered into the international agreement are Hague countries and co-operate with Australia to get your child back. You can find a list of Hague countries on the Australian Government’s Attorney General’s website.

Our Specialist Lawyers have experience in International Parental Child Abduction. If you are concerned your child may be taken to another country contact us for an urgent appointment today.

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How far away can my ex relocate my child’s residence?

Not so far that it makes it significantly more difficult for you to spend time with your child, otherwise, your ex must have your consent. Therefore, international and interstate relocations almost always require the other parent’s consent, whereas, relocations of an hour may or may not require the other parent’s consent, depending on how much it interferes with the other parent’s time with the child.

Is it possible for my ex to take my child overseas without my consent?

Yes, if there are no parenting Orders and your ex has a valid Passport for your child. If you are concerned about your ex taking your child overseas without your consent, you should immediately apply for parenting Orders. Once you have made the application, regardless of whether the Orders have been made, your ex cannot take your child overseas without your consent or they risk imprisonment of up to 3 years. Your Court application should also include an Order for for your child’s name to be placed on the Family Law Watch List which will result in your child being stopped at an airport or port from being removed from Australia.

What if I was the one who kept the kids?

Sometimes parents choose to retain their children for good reason. See our Relocation page for more information.