The Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland (FLPA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s recent announcement to introduce new measures to tighten Australia’s international parental child abduction laws.
FLPA president Deborah Awyzio said the changes to the Family Law Act would increase the protection of children across international borders.
Ms Awyzio said several of FLPA’s members were dealing with cases of children having been taken to countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
“Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention and we support its principle that disputes about parenting arrangements should be determined in the country where the child has been habitually resident,” she said.
“Our members have had to deal with parents who have suffered significantly as a result of one parent taking unilateral action by removing or retaining a child in a foreign jurisdiction.
“The new reforms will help parents access justice for parenting disputes and hopefully avoid the despair of being unable to effectively take appropriate legal steps in Australia to address their child’s arrangements.”
Key measures to be introduced include new criminal offences under the Family Law Act, extending the coverage of existing offences, allowing the family law courts to stop child support payments for parents who have abducted their child overseas and new information gathering powers for courts to locate children abducted from Australia.
“The Hague Child Abduction Convention is vital to developing an international framework for the protection of children across borders,” said Ms Awyzio.
“We support any reforms that aim to give greater powers to ensure Australian laws are as effective as possible when dealing with cases of international parental child abduction.”
Countries that are not currently signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction include Japan and Indonesia.
For more information, please contact:
Merrett Pye on 0422 096 049 or Caroline Thurlow on 0414 565 575
The Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland is the leading professional association for the family law sector in Queensland.