If a parent unilaterally relocates with a child, it is possible to recover the child by making an Application to the Court for the child to be recovered and returned to the person the child was taken from. A recovery order is defined in section 67Q of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
You can apply for a recovery order if you are:
- a person who the child lives with, spends time with or communicates with as stated in a parenting order
- a person who has parental responsibility for the child in a parenting order
- grandparent of the child, or
- a person concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child. For example, you may be the person who the child lives or spends time with but there is no parenting order that states this.
Recovery orders can be made whether or not there are existing court proceedings or parenting Orders in place. If there are no court proceedings on foot at the time a child is taken, then you will need file an Initiating Application with the Court, seeing that a recovery order be made. In support of your Application for a recovery Order, you will need to file an Affidavit setting out your evidence in relation to the circumstances in which the child was taken/withheld and it is in their best interests to be returned.
There are further processes that need to be followed under international law, specifically The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, to seek a recovery order in circumstances where a child is abducted and taken overseas.
If the recovery Order is made in relation to a child who is still in Australia, the order will direct the Australian Federal Police to locate and recover the child. The parent seeking return of the child will need to be available at short notice to take custody of the child from police.
If your child has been removed from your care without your consent, it is important to act quickly. The experienced, dedicated team of specialist family lawyers at Armstrong Legal can provide you with prompt and accurate advice and assistance on seeking a recovery order for your child and can be contacted on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.