A family law recovery order is a type of order that requires the return of a child from illegal relocation or abduction. While some couples agree on parenting arrangements after a divorce, others may continue to develop bitter relationships.
Hence, some parents tend to hide their kids from their ex-spouse without their consent. Parental alienation and parental abduction are both illegal acts that may occur. But what’s the difference between the two? A parent commits parental alienation if he/she is manipulating his/her child into hating the other parent.
Meanwhile, parental abduction is the act of illegally hiding a child from the other parent. In this article, we will discuss what a family law recovery order is and how it is used to recover children if one parent commits parental abduction. We will also discuss relevant sections in the Family Law Act 1975 that relate to recovery orders.
Section 67Q: What Is A Family Law Recovery Order
According to Section 67Q of the Family Law Act, a recovery order is an order that requires the return of a child to a:
- Parent of the child
- Person with whom the child is to live, spend time, or communicate under a parenting order
- Person who has parental responsibility for the child.
A person with parental responsibility gets to decide on the child’s major long-term life changes. Some of these major long-term life changes include school and medical arrangements, name changes, religion, and living arrangements. Recovery orders may also prohibit a person from abducting a child and arrest an abductor without a warrant.
Section 67R: Recovery Orders Authorising Or Directing People
Recovery orders may authorise or direct a named person or every person holding or acting in the Commonwealth of a state or territory. Some of these named persons are police officers or child recovery officers. The Attorney-General is responsible for appointing persons who can act as child recovery officers.
Section 67S: Where Can Authorised People Search?
A family law recovery order may authorise or direct people to stop and search any vehicle, aircraft, or vessel for the purpose of finding a child. These authorised people may also enter or search any premises or place for the purposes of recovering a child.
Section 67T: Who Can Apply For a Recovery Order?
According to Section 67T of the Act, people may apply for a recovery order if they are:
- A person who, in accordance with a parenting order, the child resides with, spends time with, or communicates with.
- A person who, according to a parenting order, is responsible for raising the child.
- The child’s grandparents, or
- A person who is interested in the development, welfare, and care of children.
Section 67U, 67V and 67W: Courts Making a Recovery Order
Courts will make a family law recovery order if necessary (as mentioned in Section 67U) and if it is in the child’s best interests (as mentioned in Section 67V). There are two primary considerations in the child’s best interests. Firstly, children should have the right to have a meaningful relationship with their parents, and other significant people in their life.
That is why even grandparents or other important people in the child’s life have the right to apply for a recovery order. Secondly, children have the right to have protection from abuse, neglect, or violence. Parental alienation and abduction are forms of child abuse since these may take a toll on the mental health of the child.
Moreover, parental alienation and parental abduction prevent abducted children from having a meaningful relationship with the other parent and other significant people in their life. According to section 67W, a recovery order remains in force for a specified period of 12 months.
Family Law Recovery Order Applications
|Situation||Type of Application|
|If there are no current proceedings||Initiating Application|
|If there are current proceedings||Application in a Proceeding|
|Amending an initiating application||Response to Initiating Application|
|If there are no parenting orders in force||Apply for a parenting order and a recovery order|
Here are the affidavits needed to support a recovery order application:
- A brief relationship history of the applicant, the presumed abductor, and the child;
- A record of earlier court appearances and family law judgments;
- Information on the child, including where they typically reside;
- The way the child was taken from the applicant and when the child wasn’t given to the applicant;
- Where the applicant believes that the child resides and the reasons for that belief;
- Why returning the child to the applicant is in the child’s best interests ;
- The likely impact on a child if not returned to the applicant; and
- Any other relevant factors to the case.
Section 67X: Preventing a Recovery Order From Taking Action
Is it possible for a person to prevent or hinder the taking of action under a family law recovery order? No. According to section 67X, a person is not allowed to contravene a recovery order without a reasonable excuse. The court may order the following to people who contravene a recovery order:
- Order the contravening person a fine not exceeding 10 penalty units
- Instruct the contravening person to enter into a recognisance with or without security. A recognisance is a pledge made and acknowledged before a court. An offender may agree to keep the peace, pay a set sum of money, appear in court when required, and behave well for a predetermined amount of time.
- Imprison the contravening person until he/she enters into a recognisance, or until the person has been imprisoned for 3 months.
Section 67Y: The Child’s Return
According to Section 67Y, if an abducted child is safely located, any person must notify the court’s Registry Manager and the person who applied for a location order. Now, what if a person in the proceedings claims that the child was at risk of being abused or has been abused? According to Section 67Z, that specific person will then file a notice to the court that is hearing the proceedings.
How Can We Aid in a Family Law Recovery Order Application?
JB Solicitors have the experience and knowledge of handling family law matters like child abduction and parental alienation. Indeed, this is a stressful and emotional time for parents who want to relocate and recover their children.
Hence, our family lawyers can take care of the procedures needed to relocate and recover a child. We have mediation services for parties who want an amicable agreement in their case. Reach out to us today for more information about a family law recovery order.