Child Recovery Orders

Burke Mead Lawyers are experienced family lawyers, assisting clients with a range of family law matters including recovery orders. As experts in family law matters, we support our clients with a range of legal services and professional advice.

Our family-focused services are delivered by a dedicated legal team of experienced family lawyers. Our experience with the Family Court, legal proceedings, mediation and knowledge of parental responsibility, parenting orders and recovery orders can help guide you and your family to the best possible outcome.

For practical legal advice regarding your circumstances and legal needs, contact Burke Mead Lawyers to book a private and confidential consultation.

What is a Recovery Order in NSW, Australia

According to section 67Q of the Family Law Act 1975, a recovery order is an order of the Court which can require a child to be returned to:

  • a parent of the child
  • a person who has a parenting order which states the child is to live with, spend time with, or communicate with that person, or
  • a person who has parental responsibility for the child.

You may be eligible to make recovery orders if:

  • your child/children normally live with you and your child is in someone else’s care who is refusing to return them to you;
  • you have parenting orders and the other party is not acting in accordance with those orders by withholding the child from you.

In cases where you do not know where your child is, you can also apply for orders to help you to find them. This is called a Commonwealth Information Order and you can apply for one when you apply for a recovery order.

If successful, your child recovery order will be sent through to the Australian Federal Police who will assist.

Before applying to the family court for a recovery order or request to recover a missing child, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. This is especially important if there are other factors to consider such as family violence and the potential for physical or psychological harm to occur.

The Benefits of Working with a Family Lawyer on a Recovery Order

Seeking legal representation is highly recommended when it comes to family dispute resolution, including difficult legal situations like applying for recovery orders. This can be a distressing circumstance to be in, which is why having a legal advice throughout the process is important.

As experienced family law specialists, we work with you to apply for the recovery order and guide you through the process from beginning to end. Our objective is solely focused on securing the best possible outcome for the child in question, find the child’s location and ensuring they are placed back with the rightful person (according to the terms of the parenting order).

Our team specialises in child recovery orders and other family law disputes. Burke Mead Lawyers are one of the leading family law firms operating in Newcastle, the Central Coast, and the Hunter Region. Contact Burke Mead Lawyers today for more information or book a consultation.


Get in touch today for a free case assessment with our Family Law & Child Custody team

Recovery Order FAQs

Section 67U of the Family Law Act 1975 relates to the Family Court’s power to make recovery orders. It refers to the proceedings for a recovery order and the fact that the “court may, subject to section 67V, make such recovery order as it thinks proper.

How long it will take to get a recovery order will depend on whether or not the family court judge reviewing the application believes the recovery of the child is urgent. If a matter is considered urgent by the court, it may take as little as 1 – 5 days after filing the application. If the matter is considered not urgent, it can take anywhere between 2 – 6 weeks.

The standard way of responding to a recovery order is the same as other family law dispute and if you are in the position of needing to respond to a recovery order, you should seek legal advice. In short, parties respond to recovery orders by filing a response with the Federal Circuit Court that includes an affidavit indicating their position and any cross-application.

There are not any specific waiting periods around applying for a recovery order. If an existing parenting order has been breached and it has been made clear to you that there are no intentions of the child being returned, then you may be able to apply. It’s best to contact an experienced family lawyer about your case, the current circumstances as you know them, and any factors that may make the case an urgent matter.

The FCFCOA treats each family law case as a unique matter and aims to understand their individual circumstances, as well as consider decisions from previous court hearings.

In order to stop a recovery order you will need to prove three points:

  • There was an urgent need to relocate;
  • There was an agreement with the other parent about moving to a new location;
  • There is a real and present threat of physical or psychological harm to your child or yourself.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to seek independent legal assistance to understand your rights and options, find the best way forward and submit your formal response to the recovery order.

The short answer is no, legal representation is not a requirement to apply for a recovery order. You are also not required to seek independent legal advice before making your application. In saying this, family law is a complex area of law and it can involve a lot of administrative work. To give yourself the best chance of success and peace of mind throughout the process, you may want to seek independent legal advice and assistance in navigating the family law system.

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Our Family Lawyers

Senior Associate

Family Law

Olivia Brennan


Family Law


Get in touch with our Family Law & Child Custody team