If your ex hasn't returned your child after a custody visit, then you'll take steps to get your child back. This isn't always easy. For example, your ex may have decided to move away with your child without telling you. You don't have any idea where they are, and you can't get any of your ex's friends or family to talk to you about it.
What can you do to locate them?
Children That Are Still in Australia
The police can help you get a child back if they are taken out of your custody by your ex. However, they can't do much to help you until you find out where your partner and child currently are.
If you can't locate your ex, then you may need to apply for a court order to get extra help. Known as location orders, these directives help find people who've dipped under the radar. So, for example, if some of your ex's family know where your ex is, then a location order requires them to reveal the location to the court.
If you don't have any contacts who may know where your ex and child are, then an order can still help. For example, you can use a location order to get government departments to release information on individuals if they know where they are. Once you find out where your ex and child are staying or living, then you can involve the police. They may be able to return your child to you immediately.
Children That May Have Been Taken Overseas
If you can't locate your ex and you think that there is a chance they have moved your child overseas, then you need to get a different kind of help. It's a good idea to start by applying for a court recovery order which gives you the right to get your child back if they are found.
You should also back this up by lodging your child's details on the Family Law Watchlist. If your child is on this list, then they can't be taken out of the country. If you think that your child has already been taken overseas, then you may be able to recover them under international child abduction laws. However, this depends on which country your child is in.
Recovering a child can be a complex process, whether they are living in Australia or overseas. To get advice on the quickest way to get your child home safely, contact a family lawyer. They can take a look at your case and help you work out what you need to do.