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ABDUCTION & RECOVERY OF CHILDREN

The removal of a child or children from one parent by the other parent and their subsequent disappearance or refusal to return is understandably one of the most distressing issues a parent can face.

At Salerno Law our Family Lawyers can advise you about the processes and plans to put in place for post separation parenting and the remedies available to a parent under the law.

Children can be removed from the care of one parent by another parent under many differing circumstances. One parent may unilaterally decide to move with the child, they may refuse to return the child or even disappear with the child. This may happen within your state, interstate or even overseas.
 

Sometimes a parent may disappear with a child due to threats of violence or imminent danger to themselves or the children.  Each case and the circumstances surrounding a child’s removal is different and parents should seek legal advice early so that action can be taken through the correct legal pathways.
 

The other parent has told me they are moving and taking the children what can I do?
 

If you believe that the other parent is a flight risk with the children, you should take immediate action. Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can advise you promptly and put the correct procedures in place to prevent the relocation of your children without your consent. Under the law, moving children is a considered a long term issue and the decision must be taken with the other parent. Both parents should agree before a parent moves with the children.
 

If the other parent has informed you that they are moving with the children and you do not agree, our lawyers can organise urgent mediation and undertakings to the court by your ex-partner not to relocate your children from their current area without your consent. Additionally, you may need to apply to the court for an injunction and urgent interim parenting orders.
Our Family Lawyers can make these applications and file them urgently so that your matter is brought before the court.


An application for parenting orders can be filed at this time and you should seek legal advice early. Relocation cases are not in a special category of their own and are considered by the court as other parenting matters are. The court uses the framework of the ‘best interests of the child’ to decide what parenting orders to put in place.
 

My kids went for the weekend and the other parent says they will not be coming back into my care.
 

You can seek a recovery order from the court where the other parent can be ordered to return the children to your care. You may seek costs and make up time also to account for the time you have missed with the children. The other parent will have an opportunity to respond to the application and make a case that the child should not be returned or that they had a reasonable excuse. Often these matters are settled by negotiation between each parent’s lawyer. There is a difference in process depending upon the existence of court orders regarding parenting. In any case, your Family Lawyer at Salerno Law can make the correct application on an urgent basis with the court.  If you do have orders in place you may file a contravention application against the other parent and our Family Lawyers can advise you about the different orders and penalties that may apply.

You should seek legal advice about the legal status of your parenting arrangements. Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can advise you and make the correct application to the court depending upon your circumstances.
 

The other parent has disappeared with our baby, how can I find out where they are?
 

You may seek a location order, a Commonwealth information order or even a publication order seeking the help of the public to find your child. Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can advise you and make the correct application to locate the other parent and your child.
 

Most parents do not simply vanish with the child, they usually find refuge with family or friends or return to an area they once resided in. Extensive enquiries can be made through all legal means available to you including making your own enquiries of family and friends, checking social media, or looking at joint telephone bills and internet banking records. Our Family Lawyers can assist you in identifying all avenues to find your child as quickly as possible.
 

In these cases, your matter should be brought before the court so that the correct orders and processes can be put in place for location and parenting arrangements into the future. Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can draft these applications and file them promptly for you.
 

My ex has our children’s passports, I am worried they will leave the country and not come back, what can I do?
 

Most often arrangements for international travel are dealt with in parenting orders. International abduction of children is an increasing problem and accordingly parents are concerned as to the risks. Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can advise you about the options available to you if you believe that there is an overseas flight risk.
 

Children may be put on a watch list by order of the court or by having an application before the court for their registration on the Australian Federal Police Watch List. This will prevent a child from leaving any international airport or seaport in Australia.
 

Our Family Lawyers at Salerno Law can advise you about making a parenting application that includes a watch list order.  Orders can also be sought for a passport to be delivered to the court rather than a parent.
 

Passport concerns can often be alleviated by negotiation between lawyers on behalf of the parents. Various options can be proposed, and these are dependent upon your specific circumstances. Parents are generally able to determine what type of arrangements for the storage or the provision of passports will put their concerns at ease.
 

If your child does not have a passport and you are concerned that the other parent may apply for one without your consent, a child alert request can be made with DFAT.
 

Your Family Lawyer at Salerno Law can advise you about this application and other family law matters that apply to your circumstance.
 

It’s my holiday time with the kids, can I take them overseas?
 

No, not without the other parent’s written consent or order if there are parenting orders in place. In fact, it is a crime to do so. Our Family Lawyers can advise you and assist with options and remedies to obtain the correct consent from the other parent so that you can travel overseas with your children. If you do not have any parenting orders, you should still seek the written consent of the other parent and fully inform them of your travel plans.
 

If you do not have any formal parenting arrangements, make an appointment with one of our Family Lawyers so that we can advise you about all post separation parenting matters. We can draft an agreement and negotiate with the other parent, so that you can finalise all matters regarding the children, understand all arrangements and decrease potential conflict into the future.