The Advocacy and Support Centre (TASC) assisted a Father of two children who had separated from the Mother years earlier. The children had been living primarily with the Mother and spending regular time with the Father. The Father came to TASC because, out of the blue, the Mother had told him that she intended to permanently relocate to Melbourne with the children. She was leaving within a week of his appointment with TASC.
TASC sent correspondence to the Mother on the Father’s behalf informing her that the Father did not agree to the relocation and that he would take further action if she continued with her plans. TASC did not receive a response to this letter. However, the Mother’s departure was delayed by a week for unknown reasons. This allowed TASC and the client time to draft an urgent application for a recovery order to the Federal Circuit Court.
TASC drafted and filed all the required Federal Circuit Court documents and the Father arranged urgent service upon the Mother before she moved away.
The Mother then continued with her relocation, promising the Father that she would inform him of her new contact address once she was down in Victoria. This did not occur and once the Mother was gone, she did not allow contact between the children and the Father.
The matter went before a Judge in the Federal Circuit Court and the Mother did not appear. The case was adjourned to allow the Mother a second chance to appear. She did not come to court on the next occasion and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
It took the Federal Police several months to locate the Mother and children with the help of TASC and the Father.
The Mother appeared in the Federal Circuit Court and was not able to give the court a satisfactory reason why she relocated the children a considerable distance from the Father. The court gave the Mother two options; she could either relocate herself and the children back to Queensland or she could release the children to the Father, and they would live with him in Queensland while the Mother would remain in Victoria. The Mother chose to remain in Victoria and the Father drove down there to collect the children.
While the case is ongoing, the children have now settled into school and into a routine with the Father. They are attending school every day (something that had not been occurring before) and they are making friends.
If TASC had not urgently assisted the Father to make a court application, the children would likely still be in Victoria and it is uncertain as to whether they would have had communication with their Father. As a result of the efforts of TASC and the Father, the children are now back in Queensland, they are attending school and are settled into a routine.