In the case of child abduction by a parent, there are various avenues of recourse.
If a child has been abducted, a parent or other significant person in the child’s life may ask a court to make a:
- location order that authorises or directs persons or organisations to provide information regarding the whereabouts of the missing parent; and/or
- recovery order that authorises or directs persons or organisations, such as the Australian Federal Police, to find, recover and deliver the child to the other parent or other significant person. An order can also prohibit the parent from again removing or taking possession of the child.
Australia is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention“). One of the aims of the Hague Convention is to promptly return children who have been wrongly removed or retained by a parent to their country of habitual residence. Parenting arrangements are then resolved by the courts of the country of habitual residence. The Hague Convention also allows parents to make an access application to seek assistance in making contact with their child who lives overseas.
Where a child has been taken to or retained in Australia, legal proceedings for incoming applications under the Hague Convention are ordinarily conducted by the State Central Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department.
Taussig Cherrie Fildes has extensive experience in child abduction and Hague Convention cases. Some of our lawyers have previously been engaged by the State Central Authority to act on its behalf. We have also successfully acted for parents who have sought to remain in Australia, and assisted clients whose children have been wrongfully removed from Victoria and Australia.