3 common questions about child recovery orders

Date: Feb 27, 2015

Child recovery orders can be used as a final resort when one parent refuses to return a child to the other. In this situation, there are a  number of unique conditions that individuals will need to be aware of if they want to resolve this dispute through legal avenues.

Some of the most common questions individuals will ask in this position include:

1) What does a child recovery order entail?

If successful and both parents are present at the hearing, a recovery order from the Family Court will usually set a date at which point the child will need to be returned to the applicant in the case.

In situations where one party is unwilling to return custody of a child, responsibility for returning the child will be assigned to the Australian Federal Police and any relevant state authorities to locate and return a child. However, in most cases it is preferable for the child to be returned through less disruptive measures.

If the child is at risk of being taken overseas, there are other options open to parents. These were seen in a recent case before the Family Court where legal action was taken in an attempt to prevent a child moving to India.

2) What factors will the courts consider when making this order?

As with all matters relating to the care of children, the primary factor within the court's decision will be which course of action is in the best interests of the child. This consideration will also determine how the courts approach the question of whether or not to involve law enforcement officials in the recovery process mentioned above.

Other factors the courts will take into account include the disruption a child might have experienced to their primary care and whether or not there is a risk of harm to the child.

3) How do individuals approach seeking a recovery order?

When lodging a child recovery order, there are a number of pieces of documentation that need to be filed in order to meet these conditions.

For example, the parent seeking the order will need to include an affidavit laying out the history of the relationship between them and the child, as well as that of the other parent. Other requirements include details of the child's existing living conditions and any previous court agreements that have already been made as part of this process.

To begin the process of seeking a child recovery order, or to simply receive more advice on the matter, make sure to discuss your position with a family lawyer.