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Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
It may be necessary to apply to the Court for a Recovery or a Location Orders when a party unilaterally relocates with the child.
Time is of the essence in such matters and you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Overseas relocation should not be contemplated without seeking legal advice. Where Orders are in place, a party who relocates overseas with a child risks the Court Ordering the return of the child to Australia at that party’s expense.
If a Parenting Order is in place or Court proceedings seeking parenting Orders have been commenced, it is illegal to remove a child from Australia without having:
Relocation is a complex issue.
A parent relocates for a variety of reasons. Some need a change of scene, others take up new employment opportunities and some find a new relationship. Whatever the reason for relocating, the Court may Order that the child be returned.
Since 2006, the Family Law Act 1975 provides that where Orders are in place, the issue of where a child shall live is a “major long-term issue” and as such must be decided by the parents jointly if they have shared parental responsibility.
The issue of relocation comes up with regular frequency in judgments issued by the Courts. The case of MRR v GR  HCA 4 ended up in the High Court of Australia over the mother’s wish to relocate from Mt Isa to Sydney with the parties’ child.
If an agreement cannot be reached, an application to the Court will need to be made. We can assist you with this application.
If one party has sufficient basis for relocation with the child, it is necessary to apply for a variation of the Parenting Orders unless the other parent agrees to the proposed relocation.
In the event of unilateral relocation, a party can apply to the Court for what is known as a “Recovery Order”. This application would seek the return of the child. If the whereabouts of the child is unknown, a Location Order will need to be sought.