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Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

I want to move out of the area – can I just take the children or do I need the other parent’s permission?

If a parent moves away that move may affect the children’s ability to spend time with the other parent.

If there are Court Orders you need to check whether the move will breach the order. If it is likely you will be in breach if you move then you need to have the orders varied either by consent or by the Court. You must do this before you move.

If there are no Court Orders you will not be breaching any orders by moving. Where there is a parenting plan or informal agreement for your children to spend time with the other parent, the Court could be asked by the other parent to issue an order which stopping you from leaving.

You can move away if the other parent consents to you relocating. If the other parent does not consent to the move you will need to obtain a Court Order.

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

Removal of a Child within Australia

If a child has been wrongfully removed within Australia, application can be made to the Court for a Recovery Order. A Recovery Order authorizes officers of the Court, the Federal Police and the State Police to stop and search vehicles, vessels, aircraft, premises or places where the child may be found. When found, the child is returned to the party who has made the Application.

Case: Claudia returned after her mother abducted her to WA


Claudia returned after her mother abducted her to WA

Peter and Claudia were a fantastic father and daughter team, they spent many hours discussing their favorite sports. Peter was deeply involved with Claudia’s home schooling. He lived with Claudia and her mother. One night, though, Peter returned home from shopping to discover both Claudia and her mother were gone. An urgent application was made to the Family Court of Australia and the Australian Federal Police found Claudia safe in West Australia and a few days later she was home safe and sound with her dad. Peter and Claudia continue to spend many happy hours together today.

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

Claudia returned after her mother abducted her to WA

Peter and Claudia were a fantastic father and daughter team, they spent many hours discussing their favorite sports. Peter was deeply involved with Claudia’s home schooling. He lived with Claudia and her mother. One night, though, Peter returned home from shopping to discover both Claudia and her mother were gone. An urgent application was made to the Family Court of Australia and the Australian Federal Police found Claudia safe in West Australia and a few days later she was home safe and sound with her dad. Peter and Claudia continue to spend many happy hours together today.

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

Can I relocate overseas with my children?

If a parent moves away that move may affect the children’s ability to spend time with the other parent.

If there are court orders you need to check whether the move will breach the order. If it is likely you will be in breach if you move then you need to have the orders varied either by consent or by the Court. You must do this before you move.

Where there is a parenting plan or informal agreement for your children to spend time with the other parent, the Court could be asked by the other parent to issue an order which stops you from leaving.

If there are no existing Court Orders in place, you can move overseas if the other parent consents to you relocating.

If the other parent does not consent to the move you will need to obtain a Court Order.

Categories
All Case Studies child arrangements Family Violence Relocation and Recovery Violence & Separation/Divorce

Grounds For Not Returning Child to Home Country

State Central Authority & Papastavrou [2008] FamCA 1120

If there exists clear evidence of grave risk of harm to the child should the child be returned to its home country, the court may prevent the child from being returned.  This is a high standard to meet, and will only apply in exceptional circumstances.

In the Papastavrou case, there was an Australian mother and a Greek father who had two children, both born in Greece. The mother, who was experiencing emotional and medical problems, was instructed by her doctor that she should return to Australia because she required the physical and emotional support of her family.

During the proceedings regarding whether the children should be returned to their home state of Greece, the mother put on compelling evidence of family violence. The evidence showed that the father repeatedly abused her, occasionally in front of the children, and had abused one of the children as well. After hearing the evidence the judge decided to reject the father’s application seeking to have the children returned to Greece.

The evidence allowed the judge to conclude that the father’s history of violence constituted a future risk of harm to the children. The mother convinced the judge that the Greek authorities would do little or nothing to protect her and the children, as they had failed to take action when she had called them in the past. The mother also provided the court with expert testimony discussing inherent issues with laws enforcing domestic violence in Greece. Additionally, the mother had developed a medical condition making her more vulnerable to future violent attacks, and this also compounded the impact future violence may have on the children.

In this case the judge was able to ultimately conclude that there was in fact a serious risk of harm to the mother and children if they were to be returned to Greece, and denied the father’s request for such.

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

Removal of a Child from Australia

If there is a concern about a child potentially being wrongfully removed from Australia, it is necessary to file an Application and then present the Order authorizing a PACE Alert to the Federal Police. This Alert prevents the departure of the child from Australia with the child’s details be placed on an Airport Watch list.

If a child has been wrongfully removed from Australia, the return process depends on which country the child has been taken to.

If the child has been taken to a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention, an Application may be made for the child’s return usually through the State or Commonwealth Attorney General Central Authority.

If the child has been taken to a country that not a party to the Hague Convention it may still be possible to have the child returned to Australia, but in most cases a lawyer in the overseas country will be required to start proceedings in that country to have the child returned.

It might be prudent to prevent the issue of an Australian or foreign passport for the child. This can be achieved by contacting the Australian Passport Office or the relevant embassy.

The lawyers at Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists Melbourne have significant experience and expertise with regard to issues that affect children. If you are concerned about your children being removed within Australia or overseas, then you should contact us urgently. If you are considering moving your child interstate or overseas then contact us for advice about the possible consequences of such a move.

Mathews Family Law is an Australian law firm. Please contact us on +61 3 9804 7991 to speak with a family lawyer from our law firm today. You can also send through your enquiry online now and we will contact you shortly.

[Case: Emily avoids being returned to the USA]

Categories
Case Studies Child Custody Relocation and Recovery

Emily avoids being returned to the USA

Carol and her school-aged daughter Emily moved to Australia from the United States. Emily settled into school and Carol started in a new job which was a major promotion and pay rise. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Carol, Emily’s father sought and was granted custody of Emily through a Court in the USA. The Court ordered Emily to return to live in the USA. To her surprise, Carol was also told that if she accompanied Emily to the USA it was highly likely she would be arrested and imprisoned. Emily was very upset and confided in her teacher that she was very happy in Australia and wanted to stay with her mother. A timely application to the Australian Family Court enabled Emily to stay with her mother in Australia.

[Case: Emily avoids being returned to the USA]

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

My spouse has threatened to take my child overseas. Can he do that?

There may be circumstances where you may require an injunction or a restraining order. This is a court order to stop someone from doing something which may disadvantage you, such as stopping your spouse/partner from withdrawing savings out of a bank account or taking the children overseas or moving the children’s residence or school without your consent.

Categories
child arrangements Relocation and Recovery

The other parent has taken the children and is refusing to return them. What should I do?

If you have an order that the children live with you or spend time with you and the children have been taken or not returned, you need to apply to the Court for a recovery order. This order allows the police (both state and federal) to find and return your children