Legal Advice

Relocation, Recovery and Location Orders

If one party unilaterally relocates with the child or children, the Court can make a recovery or location order to enable persons (such as the police) to take appropriate action to find, recover, and deliver the child to the parent or primary carer. If the whereabouts of the child in Australia is unknown, a location order will need to be sought.

If this occurs it is essential you act promptly and obtain legal advice as relocation is a complex issue and delay may work against you.

Applying for a Recovery or Location Order

You are able to apply for a recovery or location order if you are:

  • the person with whom the child lives with, spends time with or communicates with (as stated in a Parenting Order);
  • the person who has parental responsibility for the child in a Parenting Order; or
  • a grandparent of the child or a person concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child.

As a parent or primary carer you should not contemplate relocating away from where the child usually resides without seeking legal advice first. If there are Parenting Orders in place, a party who relocates (e.g. interstate oroverseas) with a child, risks the Court ordering the return of the child to Australia at that party’s own expense. If a Parenting Order is in place or if there are current Court proceedings for Parenting Orders it is illegal then to remove the child from Australia without having:

  1. a Court Order; or
  2. the other parent’s written consent to travel overseas.

The Family Law Act provides that where Parenting Orders are in place, the issue of where a child shall live is a “major long-term issue” and as such must be decided by the parents jointly if they have shared parental responsibility. If an agreement cannot be reached, an application to the Court will need to be made. We can assist you with this application.

A parent may wish to relocate for a variety of reasons, be it work, lifestyle, or a new relationship. However if there are Parenting Orders currently in place the parent wishing to relocate must establish to the Court a sufficient basis for relocation with the child. If the other parent does not agree to the proposed relocation you would be required to make an application for a variation of the Parenting Orders.