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Child returned under Hague Convention, now fighting Relocation case.

My Daughter recently returned to Australia under the Hague Convention. I am now fighting a relocation case to keep her in Australia. Legal Aid solicitor has advised that they may no longer fund my trial.

My wife has recently returned my daughter to Australia after being ordered (Twice) under the Hague convention civil aspects of child abduction to return my Daughter.

I am currently fighting her application for relocation, Im represented by Legal aid as i am unable to afford private Lawyers. My Legal aid solicitor has no expectations of winning this case and has advised me yesterday after a mediation session that Legal Aid may no longer fund me as i did not agree to the relocation of my daughter. I feel my solicitor is looking for the easiest way out for herself and does not want to take this to trial. She has practically told me that we are going to loose and if i dont take the offer at mediation then I will most likely have to pay my wifes court costs approx $50,000 when we loose. My solicitors certainty that we are going to loose also raises my concern of the integrity of this Matter.

My solicitor tells me that we have little chance of winning because i am in the Army and i could be deployed or posted away from home. Also because my wife has been the primary career for my daughter for the past 16 months ( only because she wrongfully retained my daughter in The U.S.A) affectivly denying me access. My wife also cancelled her spouse visa AFTER she learned of the Hague Convention proceedings knowing that she may have to return to Australia. Leaving her with visa issues in Australia.

My solicitor also advises me that my wife does not want to live in Australia  and that this is a problem. I argue with her that the family court is what is in the best interests of the child, not the mother.

Can anyone give me any advice on this matter? Any precedents or recent cases of similar nature? Or Know of any Pro Bono or reduced fee Lawyers that may be interested in this case.

What your Legal Aid lawyer is saying to you sounds right.  The evidence of the case regarding care are set out and weighed up.  How does it stack up?

How can you dictate where the mother should live if you can be sent away with the army at any time?

Rightly or wrongly, the child has been in the mother's care.  Status quo holds weight.

Having been through a location myself, I just wish that the father had been more amenable to mediation instead of bullying me with a solicitor from the top end of town.  I might not have relocated.  Hell, he wouldn't even commit to regular fortnigthly weekend visits. What sort of rubbish is that.. I digress..

I'm assuming the mother has family support overseas to raise the child? In my experience as a single parent, family support in raising a child is without parallel.

As my child's father was only able/willing to spend time with her sporadically, and according to his whims, I feel it has been better for both of our welfare to have the family support we now have in our new location.  Had we been forced to stay, I would've been alone in raising our child, with the added burden of the constant power games of the father and his new wife who wanted nothing to do with our daughter.

It sounds like you have no other ties, is it possible for you to relocate to be closer to your child?  The joys of discovering and sharing a new culture with your child could really be a great experience to share. Perhaps the money you would otherwise continue lining solicitors' pockets with could be spent on time with your child?

Good luck with whatever road you choose.

Veni, vidi, vici
Try looking for another solicitor and transfer your legal aid.
Did the mother propose some means of time with you if the relocation was allowed? She must do this.Did the mother propose some form of communication with the child? How old is the child and what do they want?
No matter is simple and relocation in the courts seems to go both ways, sometimes yes and sometimes no.
Can you stabilise your ability to stay at least in Australia with the army as this life will make things more difficult.
The child is an Australian citizen. Don't under estimate that fact.

She also did a runner with the child. That's no small thing.

Would you leave the army to look after your child full time? Are you seeking full time care?

Difficult situation. Not easy at all.


For better or Worse

If a court is asked to consider relocation. The question will be considered on its merits based on the Best Interests of the Child principle in the context of the Family Law Act. In other words the court will consider whether it is best for the child to stay or reloctate. Past behavior such as unilateral relocation and a Hague recovery will not have a lot of influence in the relocation decision.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
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