Family Court Orders
When a couple who have children separate and divorce there will be orders issued by the Family Court in respect to those children. Given the importance of these orders and ensuring that your rights as a parent and the interests of the children are best served, you should certainly seek the advice of family lawyers with regards to those proceedings.
Part of the orders will relate to the parent whom the children live with and the visitation arrangements that apply for the parent with whom they do not live. In the vast majority of cases, these orders work perfectly well, and thus each parent individually enjoys a healthy relationship with their children, and hopefully a cordial relationship with each other, even though they are divorced or separated.
If Orders Are Not Followed
Unfortunately, there are some cases where that does not happen and in the most serious of them, a situation can arise where one of the parents takes the children to another location, and in the worst cases, overseas.
Regardless of the fact that they might be one of the children’s parents, and even if they are the one that they live with, taking children to a location that breaches the current parenting orders that are in place, is in fact illegal.
Obviously, if a parent has moved to another location regardless of how justified they feel they may be in doing so, they are preventing the other parent from having contact with their children, and that contact is likely to be a stipulation of any parenting orders which are in place.
Conversely, if the parent that normally has visitation fails to return the children home and instead takes them to another city or state with the intention of keeping them there, that obviously also qualifies as a serious breach of the parenting order and is also illegal.
Whatever the specific circumstances, the first step that the other parent should take is to seek legal advice and that is most likely going to lead to the application to a court for a recovery order.
Recovery Order In the Family Court
A recovery order is an order of the court, which is defined in the 1975 Family Law Act, and specifically in Section 67Q of that act, that requires the return of a child. Via your lawyer, you must make an application to the Federal Circuit Court if no parenting orders are in place, and in the Family Court if they do exist.
Your application will require that you file an affidavit, and that affidavit will need to have certain details which include, but are not limited to:
- Details of the child and where they usually live
- Where you believe they may be and who has them
- Details of your past relationship with the person you believe took them
- What steps you have already taken to try to find the child
- Why you believe the child should be returned to you
- What you believe the impact will be on the child if they are not returned
The more information that you able to provide the better chance you have of getting the recovery order granted. As with all cases which involve children, a court will consider what it believes to be in the best interests of that child, but if it believes recovery is what is best it will grant the recovery order.
In most cases, you then need to complete an information sheet for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) so that they can alert the relative AFP office to assist with recovery of the child.