Locating a parent
If a parent (or child) can’t be located and a court application has been filed the Family Court has the power to make orders which direct government departments (i.e. Centrelink and the Child Support Agency) to provide the court with location information. This is called a ‘location order’. Naturally, in a world of domestic violence the court has to be cautious in when and how to make these orders.
In a recent case a father, asked the court for a location order (amongst other orders) in relation to his 2 children and their mother.
The father had not seen nor spoken to the children for approximately 4 months prior to the hearing. The children lived with the mother although no parenting orders were in place.
A domestic violence order had been made against the father in favour of the mother approximately 3 months before the hearing date, and the order had been extended to include the children.
The father sought a court order that the children ‘live with’ him, ‘spend time’ with the mother on alternate weekends and half school holidays, that the children’s names be placed on the ‘airport watchlist’ and that location and information orders (disclosing their whereabouts) be made.
The court was concerned that the DV order had been extended to include the children and as the court needed to protect children from harm, no parenting orders were made in favour of the father.
Similarly, although ‘location’ orders were made directing Centrelink and the CSA to furnish information in their records about the location of the children and the mother to the court, an order was made that the children’s whereabouts not be disclosed to the father.
The court did however make an order requiring the children be listed on the ‘Airport Watchlist’ to prevent their removal from Australia.