When is a Recovery Order needed?

10-January-2014 Family Law By Simone Green

When the responsibility for a child’s care is shared between parents or care-givers under parenting orders, issues can still arise over the child’s care arrangements. And in the event that a parent fails to return the child to the primary caregiver, how should the primary caregiver respond?

Seeking a recovery order from the Family Law Courts may be required.

A recovery order normally occurs in conjunction with a police officer assisting in the process of having a child recovered to the usual carer of the child. A recovery order seeks to achieve one or a combination of seven things: 

  1. the return of a child to a parent, a person who has contact with a child (whether by virtue of living with, spending time with, or communicating with orders), or a person with parental responsibility for the child; 
  2. Authorise or direct a person/s to, by force if necessary, stop and search any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, and to enter and search any premises, to locate the child; 
  3. Authorise or direct a person/s to, by force and assistance if necessary, recover a child; 
  4. Authorise or direct a person/s to deliver a recovered child to the parent or other person mentioned in (1), or their agent; 
  5. Give directions about day-to-day care of a child until the child is returned; 
  6.  Prohibit a person from taking possession of the child again; and 
  7.  Authorise or direct a person/s to arrest without warrant a person who removes or takes possession of a child.  

 To make an application for a recovery order, the applicant must fall under one of the following categories:  

  1. A person with whom the child is to live under a parenting order; 
  2. A person with whom the child is to spend time under a parenting order; 
  3. A person with whom the child is to communicate under a parenting order; 
  4. A person who has parental responsibility for the child under a parenting order; 
  5. A grandparent of the child; and 
  6. Any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.  

The Court, in deciding whether to make a recovery order in relation to your child, will regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.


When a recovery order is made, unless otherwise specified, it remains in force for 12 months. In the event the child is removed again within those 12 months, or other specified period, you may approach police for re-execution. 

There are many procedural orders that are often necessary to promptly bring a recovery application before a Court and, if successful, have it executed. If you are seeking the return of your child, contact one of the experienced Family Law solicitors at Streeterlaw today.

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