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Children caught in custody battle in New Zealand deported to Australia

A NZ family court lawyer is calling for changes to the way international custody cases are resolved after two young children were forcibly taken from their mother and returned to Australia.

Alexis Hart is criticising the Family Court for issuing a warrant to remove the children from their mother and fly them back to Australia without her.

Children caught in custody battle (02:34s)

Alexis Hart, solicitor for the mother said
The children have lived with Sally for the last 18 months and the last few days have been "an abomination"
Under the Hague Convention the children have to go to Australia where the custody dispute started and where it has to be sorted out. But Hart says there was no need for a court warrant.
Alexis Hart said
There's been absolutely no consultation between the court, my client and myself
But the father's lawyer says they knew time had run out.
Gary Collin said
The court provided the mother with 21 days to take the children back and she did not…so the mother left the court with no choice
Sally could get on the same flight but Air New Zealand and the police said it was not in the best interests of the children for her to be on the same flight.
Gary Collin said
She created the situation by unlawfully bringing the children to New Zealand. She can't then rely on that as a means of preventing them from going back
Sally has failed to convince the courts she can't survive financially in Australia and she says she is not entitled to any money.

The children are now with the father's family and there are concerns he will have contact with them despite a protection order preventing that.
Alexis Hart, solicitor for the mother said
It makes a farce of these protection orders, that's for sure. The case highlights the urgent need for change. The children should stay in New Zealand until the case is sorted and I was very optimistic the Australian authorities would agree.

The whole drama and trauma to the children would appear to be for no good reason
Sally is now in Australia but isn't sure when or if she will get the children back. The case will be heard in three weeks.

Editors note: If anyone is following this case in Australia could they let us know



Edited

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