A child being taken from a parent, or not being returned to a parent’s care can be very stressful. Parents in this situation need to seek assistance as soon as possible, and if they are unsuccessful in requesting the child be returned from the other person, will need to apply to the Family Law Courts for a Recovery Order.

Can the Police assist me by recovering my child/children?

Queensland Police have no authority to retrieve a child either when there is no parenting order in place or when there is a parenting order in place.

Queensland State Police are only able to assist with the removal and return of a child if that child is in immediate risk of harm in the context of Child Safety. The Police will not intervene unless it is the most dire of circumstances.

If a warrant is issued by the Family Law Court then the Australian Federal Police will assist with the recovery of the children.

When should I apply to the Court for a Recovery Order?

When a child has been removed from the care of a person, then a person:-

  • With a parenting order in their favour may apply to the Court for a Recovery Order;
  • Who does not have a court order can still apply to the court for urgent orders regarding the parenting arrangements for a child.

A Court will only make a Recovery Order if it is in the best interests of a child. There is no obligation on a Court to make an Order. It is vital to move quickly and get urgent legal advice.

What is a Recovery Order?

According to s67Q of the Family Law Act 1975 a recovery order may do all or any of the following:-

  • Require the return of a child to a:
    • parent of the child;
    • person with whom a child is living under a parenting Order;
    • person with whom a child is to spend time with under a parenting Order;
    • person with whom the child is to communicate with under a parenting Order; or
    • person who has parental responsibility for a child.
  • Authorise or direct a person to:-
    • stop and search any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, or search a premises;
    • recover a child;
    • direct a person to deliver a child to a nominated person;
    • arrest, without warrant, a person who again removes or takes possession of a child.
    • give directions about the day-to-day care of a child until they are returned;
    • prohibit a person from again removing a child; and/or
    • authorise or direct a person to arrest, without warrant, a person who again removes a child.

When will my children be returned to my care?

Normally at the time the Recovery Order is issued the Court will impose a condition that the other person return the child to an agreed location on a certain time and date. If the other person fails to return the children then orders will normally include provisions for the Police to recover the child.

We encourage you to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form as soon as practicable if you are concerned about the return of a child.

Ebony Morrison
Solicitor
Family Law