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Hi all, wondering if you can help me. I have had care of my 3 children (aged under 10) for 6 months and live in a different state to the other parent. The children were picked up for school holidays a week ago and were suppose to be coming back to me today. I had a couple of calls with the kids during the week and they were saying how they can't wait to come home. I was sent a txt on Friday saying that the kids and other parent wanted to talk to me. My youngest got on the phone and told me that they wanted to stay with the other parent, I asked to speak with the parent. The parent then informed me that the kids wanted to stay and that they would not be returning to me. I then spoke to another of my children and they said the same thing. While on the phone to that child the mother ripped the phone out of the child's hand and hung up on me (I was on speaker phone and being recorded without my knowledge).

I have since txt the other parent and they have said that the only way I could talk to the children is on speaker phone while the conversation was being recorded. I feel that there has been a lot of guilt and cohesion involved in the decision and I am concerned for the children's welfare, safety and well being.

Prior to the children being picked up, one of them (the one who had the phone ripped away from them) was really reluctant to go with the other parent, getting angry about having to go. The others were looking forward to seeing their other parent but more than happy to come back to me. The plan was that my parents were to bring them home this afternoon and have a holiday with them, that's all been shattered.

The other parent some time ago mentioned that they would be moving to be closer to the children, they cried on the phone with the children and made the children very distressed. They had also mentioned that they were in real financial difficulty since the kids left, being behind in the rent and other debts. I feel that the motivation is purely financial and the children did not sound like they really meant what they were saying, it was under duress.

I do not have a parenting plan nor court orders.

The question: Am I able to apply for a Recovery order and if so would I have much hope in getting the kids back? 

Thanks in advance
Hi,

I have attached 2 fact sheets from the Federal Circuit Court website, regarding recovery orders and applying for parenting orders.

As you will note when you read the fact sheet about recovery orders, it is possible for you to lodge an application for a recovery order for the children.

You do not mention in your post exactly how old the children are, but things that will be taken into account are, for example, any upheaval in schooling and extracurricular routines that the children have become accustomed to, in the time they have lived with you.

Have a good read of both fact sheets. i would recommend lodging an application for parenting orders at the same time as you lodge the application for a recovery order, if this is the path you choose.

Without a lot more information, it is not really possible to assess your chances of regaining care of the children, but the fact that they had been settled with you does lay in your favour.

if you decide you wish to pursue the recovery order then I would advise that you lodge your application immediately. You can fill out and file the application, and your legal representative can amend it later if needed. The sooner you lodge, the sooner this will be dealt with. If the children have time and get settled with the other parent it will be a lot more difficult to successfully apply to have them returned.

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A child is a gift, not a weapon. To be a parent is a privilege, one which unfortunately some parents do not deserve.
Hello, Thanks for the advice. Children are 10 (Twin girls) and 7 (boy). Their routine with the other parent was haphazard to say the least. They missed lots of school because the other parent did not want to get out of bed. As a result their school report reflected lack of attendance and that they were behind. They had to fend for themselves on weekends as the parent and new partner were having "midday sleeps" or they were locked in their rooms due to bad behavior. They were always in hand-me-down clothes and shoes (which were rotten-I have photos)

The move to me was a bit of a shock. They were with me on school holidays (which I had to get a lawyer involved in as the other parent tried to change plans at the last minute). While here my partner and I (we have a 10month old) had moved back into my partners home (We were living in the same state as the other parent until August last year) over January, the children were here during this time and we had them for two weeks. The children had said that they wanted to stay an extra week, I mentioned to them that the other parent may not let them and I called to ask if it was OK. It was. I took the children back on a Saturday and on the following Monday was sent a txt stating that the kids wanted to come and live with me. I thought it was a joke, turns out that it wasn't.

We agreed verbally to a trial for a term and if all was good they would remain in my care. I then organized a school (the week before school started) and drove back to collect the children. They were really happy to see me back to get them, the ex's partner said to one of the kids that I would not be back to get them. When I turned up and drove off, the child mentioned this and I asked "what did you say" the reply was "Huh! Told you he would be back" and run out the door.

My partner and I were really concerned how they would fit in at a new school, they have done really well. The twins are still behind a bit (Naplan test) but making inroads, the 7 year old is doing well. They have a group of friends each, have attended birthday party's and socially are doing well. We were in the process of finding out about after school activities, sports, dancing etc. I have a steady job 5 days a week -start early and finish in time for school pick up, my partner does the school drop off routine. The kids sleep in the same room (bunks and single bed) and we are saving to buy a bigger home.

We all get along really well together, its hectic at times but we get there. The children are always clothed well, kept clean and fed (They are well looked after) My partners family have adopted the kids as their own, the children have even holidayed with my partners parents.

The other parent had the kids for 4 days the last school holidays and the children informed the parent that they wanted to stay with us. I collected them and they mentioned that the partners family had been trying to preasure them into staying (making them feel guilty) The other parent's financial situation has meant that their home phone had been disconnected, I was letting the kids call when they wanted to. Now they use a mobile, I can not afford 30 min phone calls so they call the kids. I have been in contact with the other parents family and told them to call when ever they wish. Not one phone call from any of them in the last 6 months.

Hope this helps.
You can also contact the local police where the children are and request a welfare check of the children. The police will go to the house and site the children and check that they are ok.
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