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Family Law Blog

Recovery Orders and your Children

Posted by on 15 Aug 2013



Last month we saw the troubling headlines that a young man, Stephen Hume, had allegedly assaulted his 16 year-old girlfriend and ‘abducted’ their eight month old son. The search continued for a couple of days for the father, while baby Zhaiden was delivered to Campbelltown Police station by a member of Mr Hume’s family and ultimately reunited with his mother (See the article for more information



Since the initial reports, Mr Hume contacted a news reporter to give his side of the story, which was that he was acting in self defence in the altercation between himself and his girlfriend, and he was only trying to protect his son.


Mr Hume has now handed himself into police and has been charged with, amongst other matters, taking or detaining a child with the intent to remove from parental control. It will be a matter for the Court to decide whether he will be found guilty of such offences.


This situation was obviously stressful for both parents and their families. However, the important thing to note from this matter is not just the criminal charges that can arise in such circumstances, but the recourses available under family law.


Where a child has been removed from the care of parent, the Court can on application by that parent, issue a recovery order which directs the State and Federal Police to search and recover the child and return the child to that parent. This might happen in cases like Mr Hume’s or perhaps if a child has not been returned after a visit with the other parent, for example.


The court can also make an order directing a government agency, such as Centrelink, to provide the Court with information (which is otherwise confidential) that may assist to locate the whereabouts of a child or party to family law proceedings.


There are also severe implications for cases where a parent removes a child from (and to) a country under the Hague convention. Many of you may remember last year when the headlines of the young Italian girls were ordered to leave Australia and return to live with their Father in Italy. When a child has been removed from his or her country of residence, international law can assist to return the child to his or her home country.


If your former partner has not returned your child to you after a visit, if they have relocated interstate or overseas without your consent, or if you believe you need to lodge a recovery order urgently you can seek advice from one of our experienced Family Lawyers at Coleman Greig on (02) 9635 6422 or email

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