This is a matter that needs to be dealt with on an urgent basis if you don’t know where the children are.You should seek legal advice immediately. If your ex-partner suddenly moves away with the children without getting your consent, then you can file an application to get the parent to move back.
However, the longer you leave it the harder it will be especially if the children have settled into a new school.
You will need to file an application in either the Local Court or the nearest Family Court for a Recovery Order. If the Court orders that the children be returned then you are in the Court system until Final Orders can be either agreed to or made by the Court.
A lot of people do not seek legal advice and leave it too late before acting. If it is a case of having no money then it may be worth applying for a grant of Legal Aid.
It is a little different if you have Court Orders in place for the children. If the orders have been breached by the other parent then you should file an Application for Contravention. These types of proceedings ae a little bit like a criminal charge in that the Court can Order fines or good behaviour bonds or other penalties unless the parent can show that they had a reasonable excuse. Minor illness does not usually qualify as a reasonable excuse nor does the fact that the child simply does not want to go.
The court takes a breach of orders very seriously if proved there was no reasonable excuse.
If you need legal advice in relation to a Family Law Matter, call Ruth Single, Specialist Family Lawyer on (02) 4324 7699.