RECOVERY ORDER: What do I do if my child is not returned?

If your child is taken from you or not returned to you, you need to get legal advice about applying for a “Recovery Order”.

A Recovery Order is a Court order authorising and directing the Police, to recover and return your child to you.

Often, time is of the essence. Applications for Recovery Orders can be made and heard on an urgent basis.

Even if you have Court orders in relation to your child, you must first obtain a Recovery Order before the Police are able to retrieve your child

If you do not have any parenting orders, you will also need to apply for Court Orders stating who your children are to live and spend time with. This is the case even if you have a signed “parenting plan” as any agreement that is not in the form of Court orders, whilst persuasive, is not legally enforceable.  An application seeking recovery orders and parenting orders will require more detailed evidence in support than if you already have parenting orders.

In order to make an application for a Recovery Order, you will need to file an application and an affidavit in support. Your affidavit will need to detail, amongst other things, the current arrangements for the child and any risk issues that may be relevant to determining what is in the best interests of the child.  Examples of relevant issues are family violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, mental illness and DoCS (now FACS) involvement.

If there is a risk that your child could be taken overseas, there are further orders that would be included in your application such as preventing the issue of a passport, requiring the surrender of a child’s passport, restraining the removal of the child from Australia and putting a child on the Airport Watchlist.

Getting the right advice and acting quickly are crucial. If you think you might need help, please call a member of our experienced Family Law Team as soon as possible.


Lucy Schurink – Marriott Oliver Solicitors Pty Ltd – 2016

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