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This forum offers parents the opportunity to voice their own experiences of international parental child abduction, and related issues, and to share useful information with others in a similar situation.

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Leave to remove from Australia

by Sarah / Posted 22/05/2009 / Updated 22/11/2009

Have only got past the first page on the forum and am already to scared to read further. Has anyone had any luck with asking the Australian courts for leave to remove? I and my 3 children (8,10 12) are UK born. My ex is Irish. We emigrated to Aus in 2001. At the beginning of 2008, my ex walked out on us - I had no idea why. I discovered a month later that he was having and affair and another month later I discovered that his girlfriend was nearly 5 months pregnant. With no family, no friends and dwindling financial support I came back to the UK. He filed through the Hague and we were returned (by a very sympathetic judge)to Aus. I came back and tried to make the best of it - but the last 8 months have been a nightmare. My ex and I virtually do not communicate (and I tried - I met his soon to be wife and baby, brought the baby gifts, helped my children to bake cakes for them etc). Everything is a battle, i have to work 5 days per week and still worry about money and the mortgage. Most importantly, although my children stay with their father every other weekend - they all still want to return to the UK to be with their large family there and also their paternal family in Ireland (who have been fantastically supportive of us in trying to return. I have lost so much weight and everyday I have to beg my childrens friends for help in picking children up from school, pupil free days etc. I then read on this site of another case where the Aus courts would not allow a mother who had no family to return to the UK. Is there any hope for us? If I start a court case - I will have to sell my house to pay for the case (legal aid do not cover relocation, apparently) and then if I am not allowed back - the children and I will not even a home. What do I do? Please write in if you have any experience of Australia. My solicitor thinks I have a "decent chance" - but it is such a huge risk. I just want to bring my children home.
Please give any advice if you can.
Sarah

Responses

From Claire / Posted: 04/06/2009
Hi Sarah, I suggest you invest in getting advice from a number of different lawyers before making a decision to apply for LTR. You are right, the process is expensive but it is also extremely emotionally taxing. I personally think your having a ´decent chance´ of success is a very generous suggestion, but you just never know! Having been through this myself, and having had my application refused, yet at the same time being aware of others in remarkably similar situations, who have had their applications to go home granted (hague cases too), I am left with the sad understanding of how utterly and devastatingly flawed the international family law system truly is. Get informed! Research recent Australian leave to remove cases on the internet, talk to lawyers, experienced social workers, anyone who can help you build a realistic picture of what to expect. The more you know the better your chances will be. I wish you luck with all my heart!
From Sarah / Posted: 09/06/2009
Dear Claire
Can I ask why you were refused leave? Was your ex Australian, or did you family here? Were your children old enough to have a view? How long did the process take from start to finish? I feel so much for you having to stay here. A counsellor told me that I have to look at the risk that I may be forced to stay - but I just cannot accept that. How do you make a life when it is just you and your children and not another soul? Did you have to sell your house - I am really scared that we will have no where to live if I have to pay huge court fees - but on the same hand I do not want to let my children down by not trying to return. How is possible to be in such a situation? I ask myself that question everyday.
Do you know how the other applicants were allowed back. Sorry for the questions - I dont know of anyone else who has been through this. My family and my exs family all appear to think that we have the best chance in the world - but then this site does negate that.
Oh for a crystal ball. Thank you for the luck - sounds like we will need it.
From Summer / Posted: 28/06/2009
dear sarah

I started court proceedings to take my children back home 7 yrs after I first seperated. Im told by several people that I have a very good case - and I am legal aided - although I don´t own a house and he does not really contribute to the childrens welfare emotionally, physically or financially anymore - but still has the right to stop me from leaving. I have been told ´its a process I must go through´. I was told though years ago when my children were younger that my chances were not good then. I have now ´served my time´ so to say. Actually I didn´t have to do much as my ex did it all for me to the point that my children want nothing to do with him now - and he did all the damage completely on his own! But from what I know - as long as the children are still happy to see him and he is contributing somewhat to their life and showing interest in them - you have very little chance - but you can always try. The fact that your ex left you for another women - won´t make a bit of difference to the courts and they might assume you are jaded and vindictive. In 2006 the family courts in Aus became extremely ´father-focused´ and it is what is called an ´assumption of shared parenting´. Furthermore, they assume that mothers can be ´vindictive and out to take their children away from fathers. You need to be careful of this perception. In a relocation case - you must be able to prove abuse or abandonment beyond much doubt - or they will assume what I said above. The courts have a list of ´what they consider to be in the children´s best interest´. This is a check list you can get off the Australian Family Law website. That is what the courts go by. Also, look at other cases on www.austlii.edu.au. Put ´international relocation´ into the search engine.
From jackie / Posted: 01/08/2009
Hi Guys just to let you know I got home with my kids as they were 15 and 10, I had a family report done for the courts at a cost of $4000 she says what is in the best interest of the children and she asked them and advised the courts to allow the mother to return to the UK with the children, these are valuble reports to have in court, especially if this is your childrens strong wish. My ex read the report and we agreed in mediation he would not persue the case the orders were made the next week and we were home 2 weeks later, i feel for you its a very stressful time for all concerned. My ex is now persuing a full custody order and have our youngest returned to Australia, we are all British and the move to Australia was not for us we split and thats when all the court proceedings started. We´ve been home now since March 2008 and love it. I have no concerns on his new attempts to try to upset me and our children. Good luck I got there at a cost of $80,000 worth every penny to get us home, our happiness was more important than financial status. We rent now cant afford to buy, but we wake up every day smiling thats priceless. Your children are old enough for a family report to be evidence for a judge and if your ex doesnt agree the judge is most likely to make and order in favour of the reoprt writer.
From Lynn / Posted: 20/11/2009
Sarah My heart goes out to you and your family. I too put myself and my son in the same situation unaware of the Hague Convention Laws which should have been explained in the Immigration papers when I was only issued with a temporary visa to Australia. We were all born in the UK and only in Australia for 18mths and I still had a house near my parents in the UK. After 18mths our marriage broke down and I was advised by a solicitor that I would have to apply to relocate back home with my son. My ex has family in the UK and Australia.My son was only 4 years old at the time. It cost me $55,000 in court cost and the loss of my house in the uk to be told by the barrister that this judge I had on the day would not let me take my son back HOME to the UK. So I have now been living in Australia on my own renting with no monies, the ex pays yes $5 per week child support (two pounds fifty pence a week). My son is now 10 years old hates going to his dads every other weekend and we are isolated and lonley. The ex only sees his son every other weekend and half school hols and keeps taking me back to court wanting me to pick our son up for contact which the judge keeps telling him to do what he said he would do otherwise they will now let me take my son back home...so my story is not of a good outcome. My son has problems at school with depression and is a lonley and unhappy child just like his mother...does his father really care for him or is it another way to control.I would love to say that the judge was right in my case but he was not and i have stayed as I will never leave my son. I hve not seen my family and friends in the Uk for 6 years as my ex would not let me take my son for holidays. I now got the courts to change that but if the primary carer does not have the help and support it makes the childs life harder too,,,,why dont the courts see that. In my case we all have the legal right to live in the UK so if he wanted to spend time with his son then he could have moved back home too. Instead the mother and the child suffers well in my case we have. WHY DONT THE IMMIGRATION DEPT ADVISE YOU OF THIS WHEN YOU APPLY TO MIGRATE AND MINE WAS A TEMP VISA?????
In saying that in some cases they have been allowed to return with the child but on the cases i know due to ill health of the mother and the bad father parenting and another who was on a temp visa who was not allowed a perm visa. I say good luck . Im glad i tried to relocate as it does make me feel i did what i could but it was expensive and at time i was mislead by the legal team so do what you feel is best. I too now rent and cant afford to buy. I dont have time to meet anyone as i care for my son and have no one to help me so its a catch 22. It would help if the ex that was keeping us in the country did the right thing by the child too. All the best Sarah and take care and be strong. Good job im a strong person and i can tell you it will make you a stronger person in time.
From Ali / Posted: 22/11/2009
Hi, where abouts are you in Australia, I am going through orders and stuff with my ex and its getting nasty, need some good legal advice, was going to try and get home, but its looking grim, Im in Brisbane, if anyone knows of good lawyers up here would appreciate it if you could let me know.

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