In circumstances where a parent unilaterally removes or withholds a child from the other parent or even relocate interstate or overseas without seeking the other parent’s consent, the affected parent or another interested party can make an urgent application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia seeking Location Orders and/or Recovery Orders.

What is a Location Order?

According to section 67J of the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act), a location order is an Order made by a court requiring:

(a)  a person to provide the Registry Manager of the court with information that the person has or obtains about the child’s location; or

(b)  the Secretary of a Department, or an appropriate authority of a Commonwealth instrumentality, to provide the Registry Manager of the court with information about the child’s location that is contained in or comes into the records of the Department or instrumentality.

Usually, an application for a Location Order is heard on an ex-parte basis meaning the other party is not required to appear in Court when the Order is made.  Upon the making of a location Order, you can require the government authorities such as Services Australia, Centrelink, to produce to the Court any information or documentation about the location of your child and /or your-ex partner with whom the child may be, should that department have such relevant information. 

What is a Recovery Order?

Pursuant to section 67Q of the Act, a recovery Order can authorise or direct the Australian Federal Police to find, recover and return a child to a parent of the child; or a person with a parenting order that states the child lives with them, spends time with or communicates with them or who has parental responsibility for the child. A recovery order also gives the power to the police to arrest your ex-partner without a warrant in the event that he/she removes or takes possession of a child again. A recovery Order may also reach the effect of preventing the person from again removing the child.

How do I apply for a Location Order/ Recovery Order?

An application for a Recovery Order can be made if there is an existing parenting order in place. If there are no parenting Orders in place, you will have to apply for a parenting Order in conjunction with your application for a Recovery Order as well as filing a Notice of Child Abuse, Family violence or Risk outlining any risk or harm the child may be exposed to.

When making an application for a Location/Recovery Order, you must also file an affidavit to support application outlining the following:

  1. The parties’ personal history and their marriage/relationship history;
  2. The relationship between the child and the applicant;
  3. Detailed information about the child and where the child might be located;
  4. The circumstances under which the child was taken from you;
  5. Steps that have been taken to locate the child;
  6. Why it is in the child’s best interests for the order to be made;
  7. The likely effect if an order is not made; and
  8. The basis for the belief that the relevant government authorities will hold the requested information; (if a location order is sought)
  9. Other information that is relevant to your case, including any possible allegations of family violence or child abuse that the person with the child might have against you.

Once a Location Order is granted, a party to the proceedings may seek an Order that Judicial Registrar provide to that party the information provided the third party as to the location of the child. The applicant may also seek that the child be recovered by the Australian Federal Police and returned to the applicant. The Court will have regard to the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration when determining whether to make a Recovery Order.

To avoid delays and to resume a meaningful relationship with your child as soon as possible, you need an experienced lawyer specialising in Family Law to make an urgent application and walk you through the complex court process.

The Family Law team at JurisBridge Legal have a wealth of experience in applying for Court Orders relating to all types of circumstances. If you would like to talk to us about seeking Location/Recovery Orders, or any other Family Law matter, please contact our experienced Sydney family lawyers  on +61 02 8355 3737 or 1300 559 888; or  fill out the enquiry form here.