International matters concerning children are difficult ones. Australian Family Law Courts have power to make orders returning children to overseas jurisdictions, but the requirements must be strictly met. Courts in many other countries also have power to make orders returning a child to Australia.
The sorts of orders that a Court might make include:
- a return order for the child (to the Country applied for)
- an order for the delivery of the passport of the child,
- an order for the issue of a warrant for recovery of a child by force
For enforcement of Australian orders overseas, the first place to start is the ‘Central authority’. The central authority is responsible for forwarding any application to return to Australia to the equivalent overseas department, and is also responsible for bringing applications to return children to other countries.
In Queensland, the details of the Central authority are:
Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) , Court Services Unit
GPO Box 806 BRISBANE QLD 4001
Telephone: (07) 3235 9859 Facsimile: (07) 3235 9851
There are some relevant considerations for a Court in deciding whether a child should stay in one country or be returned to another. They include:
- The child’s habitual residence;
- Whether or not any order was in place and the terms of that order.
- If a parent was exercising their rights in relation to a child at the relevant time.
- Whether or not consent was given.
There are other considerations for and against the making of an order.
How we can help
We can help by:
- Assisting you in providing the necessary information to the Central authority for an application to return to Australia.
- Providing advice and representation to respond to applications by the Central authority to have a child removed from Australia.
- Advice on, and represent you in, urgent applications to prevent the removal of a child from Australia.