When both parents have the right to spend time with a child, Australian law does not permit one parent to prevent the other parent from having access to the child. Most countries have adopted a similar law.
Unfortunately, some parents disobey the law by bringing a child to Australia without the permission of the other parent or of the court that issued the custody order. On other occasions, both parents bring their child to Australia but one parent refuses to comply with the overseas custody order. When children are brought to Australia and a parent refuses to obey a foreign court order, remedies are available.
To enforce an overseas child custody order in Australia, the order must be registered with the International Family Law Section of the Attorney-General’s Department. An overseas order can be registered if these conditions are met:
Once you have registered an overseas order concerning children in Australia, you are entitled to take the same steps to enforce the order in Australia that could be taken by Australian parents who receive parenting orders. Those steps could include a court order that authorizes law enforcement to seize the child so that the child can be returned to a custodial parent. The court can also order mediation and other remedies.
When an abducted child has been brought to Australia in violation of an overseas order, additional remedies may be available under the Hague Convention. Those remedies might be available even if the child is abducted from a country that has not agreed to allow Australia to enforce its court orders concerning child custody. An Australian lawyer, as well as a lawyer in the country where the court order was entered, can work together to seek available remedies under the Hague Convention.