If you find yourself in Australia having brought the child/children to Australia from another country; can you be forced to take the child/children back to the other country?

16/07/2014

You cannot be forced to take the child/children back to the other country but the children can be forced to go back to the other country in certain circumstances; if the country from where you wish the child to return from is a party to the Hague Convention, there are currently approximately 28 countries which are a party to the Hague Convention.

The usual procedure is that you will be met with an application through the Department of Community Services (International Kidnapping Section) which acts on behalf of the Central Authority for the country where you and your child have come from.

Watson & Watson have acted on numerous such cases including a matter where the children had remained in Australia with their mother following a vacation in Australia when the family visited Australia to see their maternal grandmother. The mother, father and children had been living in Canada. An application was made by the father through the Attorney General of Department of Human Service, Community Services as the New South Wales Central Authority for the return of the two children to Canada. There were circumstances which were presented to the Court, namely, the possibility of grave risk that the return of the children to Canada would expose them to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place them in an intolerable situation;

His Honour Mr Justice Le Poer Trench gave findings and held that the children could remain in Australia.

The father appealed the decision and Watson & Watson acted on behalf of the mother when the matter was before the Full Court of Australia.

The Full Court upheld the decision of His Honour Mr Justice Le Poer Trench and dismissed the appeal. Thereby the children remained in Australia with their mother. The Court approved publication of the Judgment of the pseudonym Harries v Harries pursuant to s.121(9)(g) of the Family Law Act 1975.

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