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Kids not returned home

My kids have been living with me fir 10 years. Now there dad has kept them and changed schools and won't give them back. There are no court orders or parenting papers in place. Can I just go get them from school one day .. I want them back asap at home. What r my rights? This all seems wrong
Hi Shellebelle

I had a similar problem to you.  My lawyer advised me not to go take them from school as my ex would mostly like do the same thing the next day and it was not good for the children and the courts don't like seeing the children being pulled from one parent to the next.  I filed my application in Nov and did not go to court until Jan (I did not see my kids for 2 mths even though they were staying very close by).  I have to say I was very frantic at the time and just wanted to go to court and get it sorted straight away so I could see my children again.  Unfortunately my court process took 2 years (although I was lucky to have shared care for those 2 years)  in the end because I was patient and not demanding (like my ex was) I walked away with what I wanted in the process and my kids are all the more happier for it.  If I could have my time again I think I would take my kids from school but again one never knows what the other party will do.   Legally you have no orders so both of you are entitled to have the children whenever but with that said you also have to think about what is best for the children and having them fearing if their dad will just come and take them back again is not good either. 

I know exactly what you are going through and I honestly hope that things get sorted out very soon.  Be patient and things will go your way. 
Shellebelle said
My kids have been living with me fir 10 years. Now there dad has kept them and changed schools and won't give them back. There are no court orders or parenting papers in place. Can I just go get them from school one day .. I want them back asap at home. What r my rights? This all seems wrong
 

As far as I know basically as there are no Orders in place for the children between yourself and their father, which effectively means that it is within the legal power of either parent to make decisions for the children (so to speak) then I don't think there is any path of enforcement to "recover" the children as such.  You can however lodge a urgent application at the Family Courts for parenting Orders which might be the best option available.  Like mumof4 was advised…if you just go and pick the children up from the new school what's to stop their father from doing the same again?  Are you just going to keep them under house arrest for fear of recurrence?  Although it might be a longer process (via the Courts) subjecting the children to a possible ongoing disruption to residency/schooling will not serve the children's best interests. 

Although I certainly understand the emotional turmoil you must be going through right now (I'd be beside myself) I am just wondering what could have possibly led to their father to do this.  What I mean is…was he seeing them on a regular basis? Was he being given an adequate opportunity to be a parent to your and his children?

I do hope you can have this resolved soon

Good Luck!!

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
I had the same problem. In my opinion I should have taken the child and not waited for the court to set a date but I decided to do the right thing by the child but by the time all the court dates and recovery order happened the child had been bought off by the father and the court listened to what the child had to say and he was only 12 at the time. I would try very hard to be rational but also remember that courts take a long time and it is a very difficult long process to go through. Can you communicate at all with the father?

Just from the 12 year old perspective and I know he was also acting emotionally but he did tell me through the court psychologist that if I had really cared I would have shown up at the school and taken him home.

annie said
I had the same problem. In my opinion I should have taken the child and not waited for the court to set a date but I decided to do the right thing by the child but by the time all the court dates and recovery order happened the child had been bought off by the father and the court listened to what the child had to say and he was only 12 at the time. I would try very hard to be rational but also remember that courts take a long time and it is a very difficult long process to go through. Can you communicate at all with the father?

Just from the 12 year old perspective and I know he was also acting emotionally but he did tell me through the court psychologist that if I had really cared I would have shown up at the school and taken him home.


 

How long did the Court process take annie?  Did you have Orders at the time?

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Yes we did have orders at the time that had been in place for 6 years and there was never a hint of the father wanting them to change as I would have loved 50/50 so that should have made things easier to get a recovery order so that is one big difference. It took 2 years so you can only imagine what could be said to a child in two years. I think keeping a cool head is very important and trying to find out what the trigger was.

I think in my case the father wanted to see the children more but did not want to go through mediation or communicate with me so with me starting the recovery order process it gave him a back door into the courts and he could then go for custody of all the children. He was not a believer in counseling or mediation so that step could be missed.
annie said
Yes we did have orders at the time that had been in place for 6 years and there was never a hint of the father wanting them to change as I would have loved 50/50 so that should have made things easier to get a recovery order so that is one big difference. It took 2 years so you can only imagine what could be said to a child in two years. I think keeping a cool head is very important and trying to find out what the trigger was.

I think in my case the father wanted to see the children more but did not want to go through mediation or communicate with me so with me starting the recovery order process it gave him a back door into the courts and he could then go for custody of all the children. He was not a believer in counseling or mediation so that step could be missed.
 

Gees I had no idea that even when there are Orders in place that a Recovery Order could take so long.  That doesn't seem right.  I guess I just assumed that in the instance where there are Orders (as in your situation and also a lot of the other parents on here that have Orders but due to the other parent, don't get to see their children for long periods of time or at all) that the Court process would be accelerated in this instance (a couple of months tops) and provided there was no child protection issues that the original Orders would remain in full force.

What I mean is…that the children would be returned expediently and contacts resume as per the Orders and if one party wishes to change the current Orders that they would be at liberty to reapply to the Courts but the current Orders would remain in play until new Orders are made.

In my view (no doubt amplifying my legal illiteracy :)) any contravention to Court Orders in this kind of instance (or a parent not enforcing them so the other parent can see their child per the Orders) should be seen as equivalent to abduction.  Just my opinion.

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
From what I have seen its all up to the judge. They also took into consideration of the child as the Father had put in his affidavit that the child had decided he wanted to live with him so therefore the recovery order was upheld until the court psychologist spoke to him but because there was no issues of violence by either parents the length of time the child was with the other parent did not make any difference. He had a good solicitor while just staying within the law but i guess if I had paid for legal representation it might have been a fairer playing field in regards to dirty play. I saw straight away that the Judge was listening to what the child wanted and nothing else mattered and again I have seen other cases exactly the same and the judge will say the child is too young.

In the end for me I had to forget about the one who was living with him and concentrate on the other two as it was looking evident that he was going to try the same thing. Which is not how I would raise children discussing adult issues but I had to inform the kids of everything going on so that they could really think about how they would talk to the court psychologist. The one who was living with the father was even going to all the solicitors appointments and being told what to say to schools and how to act etc…

His solicitors cost were$50 000 and mine were none but he has the eldest and I have not seen him since and this was all after a 6 year working parenting agreement that the father had organised and I just signed and followed.

I can honestly say I think I should have taken the child back and broken the orders by taking him to another state until he had put in the court contravention and that way the child would have had a clearer view or be able to make a more informed decision but another judge may have been a different outcome. We have archaic orders now where I have 100% custody of the two in my care and he has it for the one in his care with neither of us having any contact. Which really is crazy!!
Recovery orders as being discussed in this topic take only days or a few weeks in the Courts.

However the Court may ascertain there are existing problems why a child or children should not be returned and this can lead to a long drawn out process of hearings.
 
Readers should be reminded that some posters in these forums are very selective and will only present information that puts themselves in a good light rather than present all the facts or both sides of the story.

SRL-Resources. the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) www.srl-resources.org  Non gender Professional and peer support for SRLs. Closed site, no public forums, no search engines, no lurkers, guests or the other side and their Lawyer and Friends.
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