Parental Child Abduction

Swanwick Murray Roche – Rockhampton & CQ Family Lawyers and Solicitors

Our lawyers understand what you are going through. We can help you.

What is parental child abduction?

Parental child abduction is when one parent relocates a child without the consent of the other parent, either temporarily or permanently and the relocation affects your custody arrangements.

The law applies differently to national relocations and international relocations.

Generally, a parent cannot relocate a child without the consent of the other parent. 

Australia has one of the highest rates of parental child abduction (per capita) in the world with Queensland topping the list nationally. In the eyes of the law, child abduction is akin to child abuse and domestic violence. Being suddenly ripped away from their familiar surroundings and routine can seriously impair a child’s development. Sometimes, a child is also forced to live in hiding and assume a false identity which can be traumatic in its own way. 

What can you do to prevent parental child abduction?

To prevent a parent from relocating a child, there are legal options available (depending on the urgency of the matter) including:

  • police involvement 
  • Family Court orders to deal with ongoing location arrangements
  • Family Court orders to stop parents from relocating children (injunctions)
  • agreements with the other parent around the location of children 
  • Court orders to cause a child’s passport to be surrendered at the airport on arrival (to prevent international travel)
  • Court orders to place the child on an Australian Airport Watch List with the Federal Police (to prevent international travel) 
  • Hague Convention order a parent to return a child relocated internationally
Is there a way to legally relocate my child?

If you wish to relocate your child nationally or internationally, it is best to seek consent from the other parent first. If the other parent refuses to consent then you can make an application to the family court for permission. When considering whether to grant consent, there is no set criteria. However, the Court will generally consider:

  • the benefit of the Child having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • the need to protect the child from harm;
  • balance these interests with the parents’ right to have freedom of movement.

Check out some of our recent legal updates and property resources that you might find useful on this Family Law Resources link. Please remember that these updates and resources are general guidance only.

The information on this page and the resources links is intended as guidance only. You should seek specific legal advice to ensure that you are properly protected and acting the appropriate way. 

During family law legal matters, many issues come up that require the support of experienced social support works and other professionals. Here are some links to support resources that may help you (please ensure that you make yourself familiar with any confidentiality rules or seek advice from us).

Child abduction

Financial counselling & guidance links:

Relationship support:

Why are we different?

Our experienced lawyers know that you need:

  • someone who understands the emotions and attitudes of the people involved in your situation;
  • your concerns; especially around financial security, child custody, personal safety and so on;
  • someone who will provide upfront information about pricing and legal costs (and keep you updated as the matter progresses);
  • a lawyer who will provide practical, results-focused advice.

Our family lawyers know that family law clients are usually experiencing one of the most emotional times of their life – a fear of the unknown, concern over financial security, worry for future care of children, anxiety around personal safety and so on. Added to this, most people don’t know what their legal options are – especially when well-meaning friends or family offer advice that may or may not be correct. Our family lawyers see your whole matter and not just the court documents that need to be drafted.

Our lawyers cut through these issues and provide you with legal advice and a strategy based on decades of legal experience to give you the confidence to move forward with your life.

At your first appointment:

  • you meet with an experienced lawyer;
  • you are advised in frank terms about legal costs and estimates to the end of your matter;
  • our lawyer listens to you and understands your matter;
  • our lawyer gives you some basic advice about how we start and handle your matter going forward.

Our family lawyers

Our experienced family lawyers are well trained. They keep up to date with daily changes in the law to provide you with up to date legal advice. Our team stays in contact with industry professionals (such as forensic accountants, investigators, valuers, real estate agents and so on) to ensure we have good working relationships with the right people when you need it.

See our team members here at this link.


To talk about your matter – reach out to us via any means to start a conversation. All of our contact information is listed here on our Contact Page.


David Lipke

David Lipke is a partner of our Rockhampton firm overseeing the litigation and insurance division in the firm. His experience includes work in institutional claims, workers compensation and motor accident claims.

Terry Tummon

Terry Tummon is a partner of the firm overseeing the family law division. Terry’s experience includes dealing with property settlement and litigation matters.

Robert Rooney

Robert Rooney is a partner of the firm overseeing the commercial & business, property, wills & estates division. His experience includes commercial transaction and advisory work.

Katina Perren

Katina Perren is a solicitor of the firm, Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative. Her experience includes work in custody, separation, divorce and property settlement matters.

Nicola Goodwin

Nicola Goodwin is a solicitor of Swanwick Murray Roche practicing in family law, divorce and separation matters, parenting disputes and court applications for family matters.


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