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Non biological parent query

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My first post here and not sure where to begin……

My partner has had pretty much full time care (currently 75%) of 2 children-one of which is not his biological child but he has been "dad" since the child was about 2( now 9)-his youngest child is now 6

His ex walked out on them in late 2006 and in fact for a period they didn't even know where she was and since that time has not had a place of her own or been living on / off with a partner who kept kicking her and the kids out when she had them. Since the start of 2009 she has been residing with her parents and has her daughters every 2nd weekend and 1/2 of a 3rd weekend.

The siblings are extremely close (more than I ever experienced with my own siblings) and actually seem to fret when apart. They seem to have some difficulties with changes in routine and have only this year started participating in school events such as school carnivals/

There are no court orders / consent orders in place but a parenting plan which hasn't really worked since put in place and now the ex is wanting to go back to mediation to have my partner agree to allow the children to change schools for a year while she continues to save money and buy a house in their current school area-she doesn't have a car. My partner is more than happy for her to have 50/50 care as long as the girls remain at the same school.

She is now threatening to remove the oldest child completely from him care and "force" him to enrol the younger one at the new school otherwise he is separting the kids

The big issue is that he has no blood ties to the oldest child and I guess for want of a better word is a stepparent to her although neither he or the child see it that way-is there anything he / we can do


The court must bear the children's best interests as it's primary consideration. There is no preference to leave children with blood parents as opposed to the person with whom they have lived for a large portion of their lives.
A person with whom the child has lived and bonded is heard in the legal system where the child has a voice. The family law arena is such a place.
Well its official-the ex is not returning the child-dp received a call from Centrelink wanting to confirm there is a change in shared care which he has said no.

She is refusing his calls and he is onto legal aid to get some advice and a referral.

She is stating that the child has only been in his predominat care as a favour to him

Have checked with her current school to see if she has been transferred but they haven't heard anything yet

We are beside ourselves and the younger one is wanting to known when her sister is coming home

Absolute nightmare
              I'd suggest that your partner considers joining the SRL-resource (Click on Community at the top and then on SRL-Resource on the left) and look to see what action can be taken. It is the other parent who would be introducing any split and it is quite disgusting that the other parent is trying to make your partner feel guilty on this count, such words could be good evidence of the other parents demeanour.
In my humble opinion you should immediately consider filing a recovery application to recover the child at your local Magistrates court. Call the court, ask for the forms which can then be downloaded with instructions from their website.

As the resident parents by accrual and with an existent parenting agreement the child will likely be returned within 2 days. Ask for costs and, I am not sure but I expect you can, ask for default actions for further breaches. It doesn't matter that father is step dad.  Caselaw provides rights for lesbian estranged dad by surrogate insemination. It is all about attachment and what is best for the child. She cant just take the child and change school  unless she gets Dessau J.
Yes the only action here is to file for a recovery order otherwise you will get caught up in the system and get no where quickly.

FAMILY LAW - Interim proceedings - unilateral relocation of child by mother - application by carer who is not related for recovery of child.

Murray & Gallagher [2009]
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