The thought of their child being taken away by the parents is one of the most distressing and frightening experiences for any parent.
What is Child Abduction?
Child abduction refers to the act of taking, hiding, or denying a child to one parent. Child abduction can happen when parents separate and at any level, domestically or internationally.
We will discuss each case in turn.
What should I do if my ex-partner takes my child from me? How can I file for a recovery order?
If you have a Court Order that your children live with you, and they have not been returned to you, you should first talk to the other parent to try and reach an agreement on the return of the children or you can hire child custody lawyers too.
If there is no agreement, a recovery order may be required.
Section 67Q of 1975’s Family Law Act defines a recovery order. This is an order by the Court that requires a child to be returned to a:
- Parent of the child
- Parent who is a party to a parenting arrangement that says the child lives with, communicates or spends time with this person.
- Person responsible for the care of the child.
A recovery order allows police officers, for example, to locate and return the child to the above-mentioned people. It can also prevent the person from removing the child again. If such a prohibition is in place, an automatic arrest can be made without the need for a warrant. This applies to situations where the person attempts or removes the child again.
If your child was taken from you, you should immediately seek legal advice. You will need to file an Application for a Recovery Order with supporting affidavits in the Family Court to get your child back.
What would happen if my ex-partner vanished with my child?
If you believe your child was moved by another party without your consent and you are not able to locate him or her, you may apply to the Court under s. 67K of 1975’s Family Law Act.
The location order requires that a person (friend, family member or Commonwealth department) with record of the child’s address inform the court.
If your child cannot be found, you may apply for a publication order under section 121. This allows you to broadcast your request to the public and publish it in a newspaper or television.
What should I do if my child is considered a flight risk in Australia?
You may have suspicions that the other party might be planning to move out of state or interstate without your consent. In such cases, you may need to apply to the Family Court to obtain interim orders to stop the other party from moving, while final orders are made.
Family Dispute Resolution is required before you can apply to the court to obtain parenting orders. However, in urgent cases, this requirement may be waived.
What happens if my child is already being taken to another country?
The Hague Convention, a multilateral treaty between Australia and several other countries, is in force. It allows abducted children to return home in a legal manner. It allows parents to contact their children abroad and provides access to them.
You can request the return of your child via the Australian Central Authority if you feel your child was wrongfully taken from Australia or held in an overseas Hague Convention country without consent.
The Australian Central Authority will review your request and coordinate your return with the Central Authority in the country where your child was taken.
These are the facts
In this case, the mother, father, and child were Australian citizens who moved to Thailand for their father’s job. After moving to Thailand, the parents split and the mother decided to remain in Thailand to ensure that the child could be near both of her parents.
After separation, the father supported the mother financially and shared the care of the child with both.
Two years after their separation, the mother spoke to the father. She told him she intended to return to Australia with her child so she could get back to work. Because she didn’t have a visa to work in Thailand, the mother couldn’t work there.
The father was concerned that she might also be unemployed in Australia, and that living in Australia would be more costly for her and her child.
After the mother withdrew $61,726 from the joint bank account, the father informed the mother that he would not continue to provide financial support until the matter was resolved.
In response to his mother refusing to give him her passport, the father denied the mother access to the child. He was afraid that the mother would kidnap him.
Although the mother tried to claim that the child opposed returning to Thailand, the court found that the child didn’t have strong objections to the return and that she did not have the maturity to fully understand the consequences of such a decision.
The court ruled that the child was wrongfully expelled from Thailand. The father was Thai and had rights to custody of the child. He was also a Thai resident and was exercising these rights before the child’s expulsion from Thailand. The father had no rights to custody.