Exploring the complex and distressing issue of parental child abduction, this post by New South Lawyers' Family Lawyers sheds light on the intricacies surrounding such cases, particularly when they take an international turn.

Parental Child Abduction explained

Parental child abduction mainly occurs between disputing parents of a child, when one parent unlawfully removes the child from their habitual place of residence, retains the child, prevents the other parent from gaining access to the child and withholds information relating to the child’s whereabout, regardless of any Court Order or consent of the parent with parental responsibility.

International Parental Child Abduction

Parental child abduction is most common where parents are estranged, separated or divorced. When an estranged co-parent abducts a child and takes them out of Australia, the ability to return the child to Australia will largely depend on whether the country the child has been taken to is a signatory to the Hague Convention which allows children abducted by a parent to be returned to their country of  habitual residence.

If the child’s usual place of residence is Australia, an application must be filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, to first determine whether the child has been wrongfully removed and retained. If the Court is satisfied that the child has been wrongfully removed and retained from their habitual place of residence, the Court has powers to order for the return of the child to Australia.

If a Court in the overseas country where the child was taken to, determines that the child was wrongfully abducted, the Court must order the return of the child to their country  of residence within six weeks.

Risk of International Parental Abduction from Australia

If you believe a child is at risk of being abducted or removed from Australia, you can submit a Child Alert Request with the Australian Passport Office which will alert you if there is an application for a passport. Only a person with parental responsibility can submit the Child Alert Request . Alternatively, you can file an urgent application with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia seeking orders to put the children’s names on the Family Law Watchlist then complete the Watchlist Request form and provide together with the Court Forms to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to place the child’s name on the Family Law Watchlist at all border entry and exit points.

To have a confidential no obligation free 10 minutes chat please contact our experienced Family Law team

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of the New South Lawyers Family Law Team today.