The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Intentional Child Abduction is the main international agreement for all matters covering international parental child abduction.
Parental child abduction occurs when one parent takes the child away from their usual country of residence without the consent of, or without informing the other parent. The Hague Convention provides an avenue for a parent to have their child returned to their county of residence. They can do so by applying for recovery orders.
The regulations of the Hague Convention apply to all countries that are signatories, such as Australia. In December 2022, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP announced the new regulations. It is termed as the Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Amendment Regulations 2022.
Read the official announcement here.
What Amendments Have Been Made in 2022?
The Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Amendment (Family Violence) Regulations 2022 provides new safeguards to parents and children. It includes safeguards for parties who are fleeing family violence and domestic violence.
In other words, the regulations now include family violence and domestic violence, and Australian courts can consider such cases under the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Adduction.
The updated regulations state that family and domestic violence will be a relevant consideration under the grave risk defence. There is no requirement for the court to be satisfied that such violence has occurred.
Moreover, the new regulations state that the return order can include conditions to protect a child from exposure to family and domestic violence. This should be the case even if the court is not satisfied that such violence has occurred or will occur.
Courts can make return orders to ensure that the party returns the child to his/her country of usual residence. A parent can apply for a return order and file an application pursuant to the Hague Convention if the other parent has taken the child to a country that is also a signatory to the Convention.
In matters where the country is not a signatory to the convention, the foreign court may decide to make an order before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. In either case, it is important to obtain professional guidance to deal with matters concerning child abduction.
Importance of Seeking Advice from Family Lawyers
Family lawyers can provide legal advice to parties who are dealing with parental child abduction matters. At JB Solicitors, our team of family lawyers have a wealth of experience. We deal with a variety of complex matters.
To read more about similar topics on family law, check out our family law blog here.
If you wish to discuss any of these issues at length with one of our friendly and experienced solicitors, contact our team of lawyers today.