International Child Abduction and Relocation

International parental child abduction occurs when one parent or guardian takes their child from its home country without the permission of the other parent or guardian, or without the authorisation of a court.

When you want to move, whether it be for work, a new relationship or even just for a desire for a change of scenery, it could lead to a relocation case if you have children. Where the other parent opposes the children’s relocation, the relocating parent must make an Application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to obtain Final Orders permitting the relocation.

Relocation cases can be made over a move within Australia but are commonly filed over international moves.

Nicholes Family Lawyers have expertise advising and representing parties in matters involving one parent seeking to relocate from Australia to another country with a child or children. We can also provide assistance in cases where children have been abducted from Australia or brought to Australia following an abduction.


The law regarding relocation of children is complex, and the outcome of any dispute regarding relocation will largely depend on each family’s own set of unique circumstances.  If one parent wishes to relocate to another city, state or country and this will interfere with the arrangements in place for the children to live with or spend time with the other parent, the consent of the other parent is required. If the other parent does not consent, and attempts to negotiate or mediate fail, an Application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia may be necessary. There is often no easy answer to relocation disputes and specialist legal advice is recommended.  As in all parenting disputes, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia will make Orders regarding any possible relocation that is considered to be in the best interests of the children.

At Nicholes Family Lawyers, we are experienced in representing clients seeking to relocate with their children as well as clients seeking to oppose relocation. We always attempt to resolve relocation disputes without resorting to litigation. If litigation is required, our highly skilled lawyers can represent clients in Court.

Hague Convention Matters

One area that sets Nicholes Family Lawyers apart from other family law firms is our focus, skills and expertise in Hague Convention matters.

The Hague Convention is an international treaty to which Australia is a party that seeks to protect children from international abduction and retention across international borders. The Hague Convention provides a mechanism for seeking the return of children who have been abducted either from Australia, or to Australia from another country (if that county is also party to the Hague Convention).

Nicholes Family Lawyers has been involved in various high profile international abduction cases, successfully returning abducted children to their parents or other persons concerned with their safety and wellbeing. We have also acted successfully for a number of parents seeking to retain their child or children in Australia from other Hague Convention countries in circumstances where defences can be argued for the non-return of a child or children to a Hague Convention country.

Nicholes Family Lawyers recognises the key requirements and criteria for making applications to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia under the Hague Convention as well as dealing with international authorities and jurisdictional hurdles in a variety of countries around the world.