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Urgent court applications

48 Hour turnaround

The other parent has taken our child - first steps

There is a legal process to get your child back. Before you start that process, consider:

  • have you spoken to the other parent and confirmed they won't be giving the child back?

  • can you go and get your child?

  • can someone else in the other parent's family intervene?

If you think your child is at risk, you can report to the child protection helpline and ask police for a welfare check.


Recovery Orders are an order that the police go to where your child is and collect them. You apply for a Recovery Order at the Family Court. It is decided based on what is in the best interests of the child

Steps in a recovery order


Pre-action Procedures 

If it won't endanger the child write to the other person (a 'Notice of Intention') and let them know you will be seeking a Recovery Order unless they return the child.



The court process is started by completing documents and giving them to the court ("filing") through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. On the Portal tick 'yes' the matter is urgent and upload a letter explaining why. 



Usually, the other person must be made aware of the court date by a person over 18 (that is not you), handing them the document ("service"). If that is not possible you should try to get the documents to them in some other way. 


Urgent Hearing

This can be held at the Court or online. Either a Senior Judicial Registrar or a Judge makes a decision based on the best interests of the child.


Notifying the AFP

If you are granted a Recovery Order to put it into effect, you give the court order to the AFP by completing the 'Recovery Order Information Sheet.' 


Be ready at the location of the child 

The police won't remove the child unless you are at a nearby location ready to receive them. 


Court case is ongoing

If you have asked for final orders as well as an immediate Recovery Order the court case will continue.   

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