My child has been taken. What can I do?
If you are concerned that the other parent of your child or other related person has relocated with your child or is withholding your access to your child, contact Fourtree Lawyers as soon as possible and seek advice as to your options to recover your child. If you suspect that your child is at immediate risk of harm, you should telephone 000.
What is a Recovery Order?
Under the Family Law Act 1975, a court may make an order requiring the return of a child to a parent, a person with whom the child lives, spends time with or communicates with under a parenting order, or a person who has parental responsibility for the child.
The child's best interests are the paramount consideration when the court decides whether to make a recovery order. The primary factors include the benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parent’s and the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence. Greater weight will be given to the protection of the child from harm.
Who carries out a Recovery Order?
The Recovery Order is generally issued to the Australian Federal Police, who then provides the information to the Local Area Command police unit where the child is located. The court can authorise or direct a person to stop and search any vehicle, vessel, or aircraft and enter and search any premises or place to find a child. Force may be used if necessary.
The Recovery Order remains in place for a period of 12 months or until the child is returned. Notice of the child’s return must be given to the Registry Manager of the court that issued the recovery order. If a location order is in force, the person to whom the location order applies.
The court can give directions about the day to day care of a child until the child is returned. The court also has powers to prohibit a person from taking the child again and authorises a person to be arrested without a warrant if they do so.
How do I arrange a Recovery Order?
To seek a recovery order, you will need to have current court proceedings in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on foot or otherwise commence court proceedings. Fourtree Lawyers can assist you in drafting your court documents, including an Initiating Application if you are commencing court proceedings or an Application in a Case if you have proceedings on foot, an Affidavit and Notice of Risk.
What happens after a Recovery Order is made?
The court may specify in the recovery order a time, date and location for the child to be returned. If changeover of the child does not occur at the time specified, then the Australian Federal Police recovery will issue and the police may recover the child.
Location Orders, Commonwealth Information Orders and Publication Orders
If you do not know where the child is located, the court has the power to make location orders, Commonwealth information order and publication orders. You will need to either commence proceedings or have proceedings on foot in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or Family Court of Australia. The best interests of the child are the paramount consideration when making a location order.
What is a Location Order?
A location order is an order for a person to provide the court with information about the children’s location. The person is generally someone known to the person, including family members and/or friends.
What is a Commonwealth Information Order?
A Commonwealth information order is an order to a Secretary of a Commonwealth Department to provide the court with information about the child’s location that is contained in records of the Department. A common government department to be ordered to disclose a person’s location is Services NSW, as they hold Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support information.
What are Publication Orders?
Under the Family Law Act, it is an offence for any person to publish to the public any account of any proceedings or part of any proceedings that identifies a party to the proceedings, a person related to or associated with the proceedings or concerned in the matter or a witness in the proceedings.
However, in the event of a missing child, the Court has the power to issue a publication order so that details of the missing child can be published in the media, such as in newspapers or on websites, with the details of the publication to include the names of the mother, father and child, their dates of birth, photographs and description, that a recovery order had been issued, their last seen address and a request for information as to their whereabouts.
After the child has been recovered, the publication or broadcaster is permitted to provide a report of the recovery and the role it played in the recovery.
Publication orders are generally a last resort when locating a child and are used when other options such as recovery orders and location orders have not been successful.
We are here to help
Our Family Law Solicitors specialise in child recovery matters and represent clients throughout Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle & Hunter Regions. We have the experience and understanding to guide you through the process from beginning to end and get you the best possible outcome.
The Family Law Team at Fourtree Lawyers has had experience with successfully having children recovered under a recovery order and opposing recovery orders made by another party. Contact one of our Family Law Specialists on 1300 529 444 or fill in a contact form to arrange a free conference with a solicitor today.
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