Moving to Australia: What You Must Know About Bringing the Children.

What crosses your mind when you think about the Hague Convention? Is it…

  • a) the sequel to the Geneva Convention?
  • b) a collection of men in grey suits meeting to talk about legal stuff in a place called The Hague?
  • c) an international law you should seriously consider before moving to Australia with your children?

So, as this is a blog about moving to Australia, I would imagine most of you will probably have plumped for c). And it is the right answer. But why?

Let me explain.

Without going into too much depth, the Hague Convention deals with international child abductions and applies to all countries that have signed up to the agreement, which includes all of North America and most of South America, Europe and Australia.

This lot…….

Hague Convention Members Map

Hague Convention Members Map

And what the Hague Convention rules is that no child under the age of 16 can be removed from their country of “habitual residence” without the consent of BOTH parents.

Why is this so important for parents moving to Australia?

Because sometimes, this happens. Husband and wife move to Australia with their kids. They split up for whatever reason. The wife wants to go back to the UK to be with her mother and, of course, she wants to take the kids with her.

To do that, she needs the permission of the father. No permission means she can’t take them. How many fathers would agree to their children living 11,000 miles away? Not many.

Result: The separated wife must stay in Australia if she wants to be with her kids. She is now living in a country she no longer wants to stay in, she is without the support of her pre-marital family and friends and there’s not much she can do about it.

Obviously this story can be told many ways. The husband may want to return to be with his mum, or go back to be with his old friends, or perhaps he yearns for his old local pub. Well, he can’t force his wife and/or his children to follow him without the children’s mothers permission.

You don’t even have to be splitting up. Perhaps just one of you hates Australia, husband or wife, and insists on going back to whichever country you emigrated from. Well, without the permission of your other half, you’ll be going back by yourself. Without your kids. Alone.

“But I’m their mother, I’m a British citizen, I was born in Britain, my kids were born in Britain, surely I can take them back home?’

No, you can’t. Not without the fathers permission. Otherwise it’s abduction and the courts will order your children be returned to their country of habitual residence.

What is their country of habitual residence? It is purposefully undefined by the Convention. But basically, it’s the country you have chosen to live in. My daughter’s “habitual residence” is now Australia. She is not an Australian National, she was not born in Australia, she does not have Australian citizenship.

But we live here, so Australia is Elizabeth’s habitual residence.

Nobody mentions this, not the Australian Government, not the MARA migration agents and none of the application forms. I never knew about this when I moved, but luckily, it isn’t an issue for us and hopefully it won’t be an issue for you. But for a small yet significant minority, it will be.

So I thought I’d mention it. Because it is important.

Kids shadowsOf course, I am not a lawyer and I am only expressing the Hague Convention as I understand it. Always seek legal advice from a qualified professional.

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{ 186 comments… add one }
  • Sarah October 18, 2015, 4:12 pm |

    Hi, im in perth wa for the last 4 years permanent resident with two kids who were born in Ireland. My relationship is falling apart. Can anyone tell me if u decide to take the kids home to Ireland and my other half doesn’t dispute it will i face no problems? Am I right in thinking you only have a problem if they dispute or do you have to ask for permission to leave regardless

    • BobinOz October 19, 2015, 5:21 pm |

      Hi Sarah

      I am not a lawyer, but I would strongly suggest that you get some kind of legally binding document signed by your other half before you take your children out of this country. A verbal agreement could lead to problems in the future. I strongly suggest you speak to a lawyer about this as you don’t want any problems further down the line.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Tom May 23, 2019, 12:38 pm |

        Hi, my wife, daughter and I who are all uk citizens moved to Australia on her visa a year ago, she has since moved in with someone else, i now want to go back to live in uk, can I insist my daughter returns back to uk with her mother so I can continue to see her?

        • BobinOz May 23, 2019, 9:09 pm |

          My understanding is no, you can’t, which I think I’ve explained in the above article. Rules can change though, so if I were you, I would definitely speak to a lawyer about your situation. Good luck, Bob

  • Nesreen July 18, 2015, 9:06 pm |

    Hi. I am separated mother i have ph d and i want to migrate to australia . i can get from my ex – an authorization to sign instead of him in any matter of the children . is this enough in application and signing in 1229 form . Thank you very much

    • BobinOz July 20, 2015, 12:08 am |

      You should certainly speak to a lawyer about that, you want to make sure you are completely covered. So get professional advice. Good luck, Bob

  • Frances June 28, 2015, 4:08 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I was reading and happy for your web page is great to have this kind of information.
    So about children, guess what, i was looking at the map you introduced and Bolivia, my born country doesn´t appear. I´m mooving to Australia in a few months, i´m a single mom and have a 4th year old son. The father has been a pain in the ass in order to have some benefits for himself about our travell so he´s trying to use my son for it. My questions are: 1) If I have a legal statement to travel do i need another kind of permittion? 2) How roules apply to my son if i´m Bolivian? 3) If i get without problems to Australia, i cannot travell to another countries for vacation with my son if i no longer have the father´s permition? 4) What about if once i get to Australia, after that i no longer have the father´s legal permition? Thanks in advance for any information.

    • BobinOz June 29, 2015, 12:12 am |

      I think you need to discuss this in full with the Bolivian based lawyer, I’m simply not qualified to answer these questions. You really do need to make sure you get it right, so don’t skimp on this, pay the money and get full legal advice. Good luck, Bob

      • Nesreen July 20, 2015, 4:47 am |

        Hi bob .hi frances. Hi all. Frances if you get the answeres .may you write the answeres please ?thank you all

    • Nado November 8, 2015, 9:59 pm |

      I would like to know the answer of this too! 🙂 It does not make sense if a child is moving from a country which did not sign the Hague convention, why both parents consent is needed?!

      • BobinOz November 25, 2015, 8:42 pm |

        I don’t know the answer to this question, that’s why I advise you to speak to lawyers who understand the laws in your country’s. If I were to guess though, I think the important point is that Australia has signed up to the Hague Convention, so anybody bringing a child here without the correct paperwork risks having them sent back to their country of origin.

        If you wanted to steal your children from your other half and not worry about the Hague Convention forcing their return, then you would take them TO a country that has not signed up to the Hague Convention, like Bolivia.

        As I say, I’m only guessing though. Please speak to a local lawyer.

  • Joan June 23, 2015, 12:33 am |

    I am thinking of moving to Australia with my three kids, I think I can find a good job, but is the country single-moms friendly? I mean, what are my chances, will they give me a visa?

    • BobinOz June 23, 2015, 4:46 pm |

      see Would I Qualify?

      If you can find a way in, we have no problems with single mums in Australia, we have them here too 🙂

  • Nikki June 22, 2015, 5:32 am |

    Hi Bob

    We have been talking about emigrating to Australia.

    My concern is for my daughter. If we moved over and she would be 17 would she have to apply on her own at 18 as she will be classed as a adult?
    I would want her to continue with school (College or Uni) in Australia, looking at some other sites they suggest we would have to pay the fees as she would be classed as an international student.

    With regards to the points system, I have been looking at your site would the points be from myself and my husband (combined) or treated separately?

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give us.


    • BobinOz June 23, 2015, 1:22 am |

      If your daughter is 17, she can be included with your application, but once she turns 18 she becomes an adult and its then different. As an adult she would have to apply in her own right, but there are situations when young adults are still fully dependent upon their parents, for example, when in full-time education.

      You would need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent about how that works, and also about how the international student fees work as well. When it comes to the point system, that’s quite complicated, so again if you are unclear you would need to speak to a MARA migration agent for advice.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Nikki June 24, 2015, 5:46 am |

        Hi Bob

        Thank you, that is what we thought we are hoping she will go to uni so will still be dependent on us, but will look more into this.

        Once we have got everything sorted we will then be in touch with the MARA agent.

        Thanks for you help.

        P.s the page is so helpful, just did not know how complicated it would be to come over there until we started looking ☺

        • BobinOz June 24, 2015, 11:37 pm |

          Oh, it’s complicated, so always best to check with a MARA agent as they keep up with all the rules. Good luck, Bob

  • Kelly ward June 5, 2015, 6:42 am |

    Hi I’m trying to get me and my son over to live in Australia were my sister lives, what is the process as I’m having no luck in finding out how to make it possible??

    • BobinOz June 7, 2015, 8:57 pm |

      Well, you need to successfully apply for a visa for you and your son, see my page about Visas.

  • kim May 30, 2015, 12:51 am |

    Hi my question is about kiddies but not about the abduction rule .. mine is more about car seats… we are sending some stuff over in a container and wondered if it was worth sending a car seat (toddler) 3 years old… or are there different rules so our UK one wont meet regulations? thanks in advance

    • BobinOz June 1, 2015, 2:47 pm |

      Hi Kim

      Your car seat would have to be approved to Australian standards and as far as I am aware, only car seats purchased in Australia are.

      So I’m afraid it most likely will not be legal in this country.

      • Sarah November 29, 2015, 12:20 am |

        As a mother of young children and moved both from the UK to Australia and now sadly stuck thank to the Hague Convention. I can say leave the seats unless like me you have to return. Your kids will not be covered on your Australian insurance if in a UK car seat. I would also add most newer cars in Australia have the isofix system. My experience is that seats in Australia are better made and saver. Good luck with the move Kim.

  • Helene May 29, 2015, 6:50 am |

    Here’s a video that people may find useful regarding The Hague convention from parents stuck in this situation

  • Helene May 18, 2015, 7:08 pm |

    This article is the real truth about what can happen and why. If your thinking about moving abroad do consider this information. How do I know? Well because this happened to me too, my child lives on he other side of the world to me now all because we became technically habitually resident in NZ, at the Time I had no idea of the implications. I will never get over it or understand the brutalness of The Hague convention as it currently stands.

    • BobinOz May 19, 2015, 7:26 pm |

      Hi Helene

      Thanks for your comment and the link, I truly feel for you as I’m sure many other parents will as well. I just want to say though that the Hague Convention was never meant to be brutal, I’m sure it was designed to help protect children from being removed, or should I say abducted, and taken to a foreign country by one of the parents.

      Under the usual circumstances, the Hague Convention is a good thing. For example, a married couple who have lived in England all of their lives suddenly break up and the husband takes the kids on holiday and never returns them. Instead, he has set up a new life for himself and his children in a foreign land.

      The Hague Convention is in place to enable those children to be returned to their country of habitual residence and therefore, in this example, back to the mother. The father, if he wants continued regular access to his children must relocate himself back to England as well.

      It only goes wrong when the couple decide to move to another country and then they split up and one of them wants to return home to England and the other wants to stay abroad.

      That’s why it is important that parents are aware of this issue before they make that decision to move to another country. And that’s my I have written this post, to try and make people aware of this. I think the Hague convention’s heart is in the right place, but I can see why you would now consider it to be brutal.

      I hope things work out, many thanks, Bob

  • BobinOz May 18, 2015, 6:10 pm |

    I can help you with these questions, you both need to speak to a lawyer who is also a MARA registered migration agent, good luck, Bob

  • Maddie May 17, 2015, 1:47 pm |

    I have a friend UK citizen been here close to two years and is on a bridging visa while waiting for a partnership visa ( de facto) her son was born here to an Australian father.her visa is only a couple of months away from being granted.

    So it looks like they are separating and of course the dad is threatening her now with the visa and with her son

    My question is what are her rights legally as she is on a bridging visa waiting for her partner visa and her child is Australian born. What can she do?

  • Abby May 16, 2015, 6:34 am |

    Hi Bob

    I have dual citizenship in Australia and south Africa (originally south african). My three kids are australian citizens, 5years old, 8 years old and 15 years old. My husband forced us all to move back to south Africa.

    Upon arrival here he moved in with his family and left me to fend for myself. I am depending on my family to support my kids and myself as my husband doesn’t support is financially or spend any time with the kids.

    My question is, can I move back to Australia with my kids without my husbands permission? I am in the prosses of completing my further education there, the government will support my kids, as well as pay me unemployment as I don’t work.

    Will there be any issue for me getting back into Australia seeing as my kids are citizens?

  • Raimon April 25, 2015, 2:16 pm |

    Hello Bob, Just a question if possible for you to Answer, I Know someone here in Australia, that got his Filipina Girlfriend Pregnant, She is living in Philippines. He has applied for Australian Citizenship for the Baby and was just approved, The Baby is 14 months old and Plans to bring just the baby back into Australia and not his girlfriend, He dose want to bring his girlfriend here to Australia but he is on a pension, paying rent and would not be able to save the money needed for the Visas and flights for at least 5 years. She has agreed to allow the baby to Come to Australia in thought that she will be able to come here also and live happily ever after,, Is their any law that could protect the entrance of the child into Australia?. or it is ok for Australian law to allow the entrance of a young baby with the father with no real knowledge on how to look after a child.

    • BobinOz April 27, 2015, 3:00 pm |

      I am not a lawyer so I don’t know the specific answer, but I think this is down to the mother. If she agrees and allows the baby to come to Australia on its own, then it’s probably okay, although I’m pretty sure somebody will need to accompany the baby on the aeroplane.

      If the mother has concerns about the ability of the father to look after the child, surely she just has to decline the permission?

      As I say, I’m not a lawyer, that’s who you should be talking to.

  • Herman P. March 27, 2015, 12:07 am |

    Dear Bob,
    I am indonesian stay in Jakarta. I just gather information of possibility move to Australia for my son 37 years with his wife and two children (5 and 2 yrs old). He is working as teacher for primary and secondary school. He was graduated Master degree in Ethnomusicology from Art school in Jkt. unfortunately he has ‘low vision’ sight. and His wife was blind since birth. She passed High school and 1-2 years in university. She is working part time as a singer in any event or party.
    My question : could they get to move to Australia for good – another way : could He only come virst with work visa for 1 year and then the family follow.
    Thank you very much and appreciate for your rwply
    Herman – 27 Mar 2015 – Jakarta Indonesia

    • BobinOz March 27, 2015, 9:02 pm |

      That’s an impossible question for me to answer Herman, you need to read my page Would I Qualify? to see why.

      I’m pretty sure his wife being blind would not affect any application though, but if you Google “Fact Sheet 22—The Health Requirement” you can find out more about that from the government’s website.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Darren flowers March 26, 2015, 9:46 am |

    Hi. I have a son coming up for 16 in September this year, he lives with me (father) my wife and 2 step sisters, he sees his mum every other weekend, we both have parental rights but he lives with me, I don’t think there is a residency order in place but his mum says she has one, i have never seen or heard of it. we have our visas going through as we speak to move to the gold coast area, we applied about 2 months ago so still a long way to go yet and by then my son will be 16. My question is can his mum stop him going at 16 yrs old with me his father and does she have to sign a document for his visa or for him to go ?. My son wants to go but his mum is saying no. This is causing alot of tension between mother and son I do not want to leave my son here in the uk, my solicitor says she believes I can take Him without her concent at 16 as at 16 he could apply for his own passport and the parental agreement expires ?? Your expertise in tho matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Darren

    • BobinOz March 26, 2015, 7:02 pm |

      Well, I’m not a solicitor, so I’m not going to disagree with yours. I honestly don’t know what the rules are, whether it’s 18 or 16, so if you did want a second opinion on it, you should really speak to another solicitor. Good luck, Bob

  • maya March 17, 2015, 1:11 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I am an Indian living in California. My husband lived in US for more than a decade. Now he along with his friend who got a good job in Australia. I am totally new to that place. So tell me why you are not okay with the place. I have been in US for about5 years. I find it difficult because I miss my relatives and some friends. but I want my husband’s career to be fine. So if he is okay I will be fine with it. Tell me what and why you suggest Oz is not the right place.

    • BobinOz March 17, 2015, 6:00 pm |

      I don’t understand your question maya, I live in Australia, I love it here. Where have I suggested that Oz is not the right place?

      The above post is specifically about the problems that can occur when moving to another country, any country, with children. Personally, I think Australia is a great place to live and to bring up kids.

  • andy wyman March 4, 2015, 7:11 pm |

    Still waiting for the letter through the door,the court date but there is hope their has been a recent case in the paper where the father has told the judge he cant hug over skype and managed to keep his son in the UK. Which is good and like me he would of never seen his son again especially which the time difference, so to keep any relationship is impossible over that amount of distance. Just a glimmer of hope exists in this world driven by money.

    • BobinOz March 4, 2015, 9:17 pm |

      Yes, there is most definitely hope, I think you have a strong case, certainly as strong as the other father you mention.

  • andy wyman February 19, 2015, 2:54 pm |

    My ex partner wants to move to Australia with my 5yo son, we have a strong bond I see him regularly and pay towards his upbringing.
    I live in the UK and want him to stay so I can be part of his life, I’m currently waiting for the court date to the first hearing as I don’t want him to move.
    How likely is it that the court will allow my ex to move with our son? I recently gave permission to let her go on holiday to Australia but unbeknown to me it was to scope out schools gps and employment to help her case in court.i want to be a part of my sons upbringing I don’t trust her to encourage contact between me and our son if she manages to move with him. Thanks in advance any advice on this would be great.

    • BobinOz February 19, 2015, 6:13 pm |

      Hi Andy

      I’m no lawyer, but my very loose understanding of this ruling is that without your signature, she cannot take your son out of the country. That said, I’m sure there are certain circumstances where the judge may rule differently, but I don’t know what those circumstances might be.

      Without doubt, if I were you I would engaging the assistance of a lawyer to act on your behalf with this, and a good one at that. Good luck, do let us know how it turns out.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Sonia February 6, 2015, 2:57 am |

    Hi Bob, would the same rules apply if the father of my child has no parental responsibility? He is not named on the birth certificate and he doesn’t want anything to do with my son, has never met him either. Thanks

    • BobinOz February 6, 2015, 7:50 pm |

      I couldn’t tell you Sonia, you would really need to speak to a solicitor about that. I do know that some rights are lost by fathers whose names do not appear on the birth certificate, but I don’t know about this one.

      You really must play it safe and seek legal advice. Could luck, Bob

  • Helen October 19, 2014, 5:31 am |

    Hi can I apply for the visa to Australia while I am going down legal route to take my son with me and against his father’s wishes. I need to apply NOW due to my age, I’m 44, soon 45 and need the age points to qualify for a visa, I believe from 45 I get no points for this category. Can I at least submit my visa application now, I don’t have years of court time. I spoke with a lawyer last year who thought my economic reasons for going would be supported by the court. thanks

    • BobinOz October 19, 2014, 9:40 pm |

      I can see no reason why you can’t put your application in now, but as I’m not a lawyer or a migration agent, I don’t know whether there might be any implications for doing so either with your application or your upcoming court case. So I would advise that you run it past either your lawyer or a MARA migration agent first.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Michelle October 9, 2014, 11:05 am |

    Hi. Me again. Well, we moved to Australia. I hot a job, kids settled in school, husband waiting for his visa. Then he comes to visit us at Easter and says he no longer wants to be married. Turns out he has been having an affair in Norway. So now it leaves me with 3 kids here, house, and job. Now ex is threatening to force the kids back to Norway because he believes the arrangement was temporary and if it didn’t work out we were to go back. The fact that we bought a house in a high school zone and sold everything surely has to count. Any advice??

    • BobinOz October 9, 2014, 5:13 pm |

      Oh dear, what a mess! My advice without a doubt is to see a solicitor. Don’t even think about it, see one as soon as possible. As you can see from the above article about the Hague Convention, there are rules, I’m thinking that providing your husband signed some of the papers agreeing to allow the children to leave the country then maybe the law will fall down on your side.

      But obviously I don’t know, which is why you must see a solicitor to see where you stand. Good luck, I hope it turns out well for you.


  • willow April 7, 2014, 5:31 am |

    HELLO Bob. I currently live in Yorkshire and have been seperated with my son’s father for over two years. Our son is three and lives with me and my partner of 2 years. We are wanting to move to oz and I’ve been offered a job in sa. Things are very hostile between me and the ex and he rarely sees our son. He lives in Geneva and doesn’t now our plans yet. Please can you advise on what to do? Cheers for the awesome site x

    • BobinOz April 7, 2014, 6:10 pm |

      You need to see a solicitor about this, it’s your only option as far as I can see. Good luck, hope you get it sorted.


  • tanya March 1, 2014, 12:14 pm |

    Thanks Bob, will be seeing a migration agent so will find out more on that, but thanks for the comment, really appreciate it.

    • BobinOz March 1, 2014, 11:25 pm |

      Sounds good, hope it goes well Tanya. If, for any reason, it doesn’t go well with your agent, I do recommend my guide, see my Visa Assessment Service.

  • Michelle February 27, 2014, 11:38 pm |

    Just wanted to give a positive update on my situation. We have now bought a house in Australia and moved our family. My husband is still in Norway, but he is coming here shortly (after visa approved and I get a job). I am unemployed but looking for work. We packed up our life, sold our house and moved here. All good now with our relationship now. We are going to try this life for a year and decide at the end what we want to do, where to live etc. I have my old job back in Norway after a year if it doesn’t work out.
    I hope I find work, but I have found warmt in the meantime 🙂
    Good luck to everyone else.

    • BobinOz March 1, 2014, 1:36 am |

      Brilliant news Michelle, thanks for updating us. Hope it all works out for you all here in Australia and you find work and somewhere good to live.

      Welcome back to hot and sunny 🙂

      • Michelle August 1, 2016, 11:42 pm |

        Well Bob. Thought I’d update you on the twist. Seems he was being unfaithful in Norway. Left me for his new partner. After a 2 year battle the children and I remain in Australia. Great job, life and amazing 3 kids and no crap husband. Life goes on!

        • BobinOz August 2, 2016, 5:34 pm |

          That sounds like a hat-trick of positives Michelle, you’ve got your kids, you’re still in Australia and you’ve got a great job now. Fantastic!

          As a bonus, you’ve got shot of a crap husband, well done 🙂 I hope it all works out very well for you and your kids.

  • Tanya February 27, 2014, 11:19 pm |

    Hi bob n hi all, just been reading all these sad stories n can’t even to imagine what you guys are going through! I have just read The Hague convention n is it my understanding that if a child is over 16, that they don’t need permission from the dad? As have got a 16 yr old ( soon to be). Would I b able to take her to oz with us once she turns 16! without consent?? Thanks

    • BobinOz March 1, 2014, 1:32 am |

      Yes, some of these stories are pretty heartbreaking, aren’t they?

      I don’t know the full regulations Tanya, so I don’t know if it is 16 or 18, but if you read 16, maybe that’s what it is. Can anyone else confirm?

      • frank August 22, 2016, 10:35 pm |

        The Hague convention states 16 you. However, Australia considers a child to be under 18 you. I think Australian department of immigration will take into consideration the laws of the country that the child is from. In the UK this varies between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. If the couple were never married and no custodial order is in place and in respective countries prior to certain dates. You may therefore, not require a letter expressing consent from the absent parent if they were born before a certain date.You would simply get a letter from a reputable solicitor to confirm when the child was born and confirming there are no custodial arrangements are in place

        • BobinOz August 23, 2016, 5:08 pm |

          Gosh, it’s quite complicated isn’t it? But then again, these things are usually not straightforward.

          Thanks for providing this comprehensive information Frank, I’m sure you have helped Tanya and other readers with this. Cheers, Bob

  • kay October 5, 2013, 2:09 pm |

    Hi there iv read so many peoples comments and I’m just feeling like I’m stuck and can’ anything.I live in nz am nz citizen I have 2kids to to my ex bf and have 2 kids to my current bf .I wana relocate to australia perth and wana take my family there bit herd I couldn’t take my 2 kids with out their fathers permission is there anyway I can do this take them with me start fresh.need help don’t knw what to do

    • BobinOz October 7, 2013, 6:36 pm |

      It would probably be best if you consult a lawyer about this, but my understanding is that you will definitely need the children’s fathers permission to take them out of the country.

  • Lisa July 15, 2013, 11:47 pm |

    I have a question regarding taking my daughter to Australia to live.
    I split up with my ex over a year ago, we were never married. Since then my daughter has spent every weekend with her father until march. I told him I was in a new relationship and he didn’t take it very well. He refused to bring our 2 year old home as agreed, police involved. He then pestered me constantly, had a harassment verbal warning, broke that, then a harassment warning in writing, broke that, then he started threatening my family, posting mine and daughter address on a public Facebook along with my full name and contact number. Since then i have changed my number. He then broke his harassment warning and got issued a restraining order via the court for his friend and him for threatening me and my family outside my property. Recently he has broke that by contacting me again, when it states clearing no contact directly or indirectly. We was in court 11th July 2013, but has to go back on 1st august for a hearing to define what’s the best punishment as he overdosed before interview on 9th, with that he was rushed to hospital and under arrest. It has also come to my attention that he’s an unfit parent, takes drugs and alcohol on a regular basic, his mum wants to get him sectioned due to his behaviour and mental state, also I found out he wasn’t actually paying, clothing, feeding or caring for my daughter while in his care, someone else was. He also doesn’t pay any money either. He owes lots of nasty people money, list goes on. Btw he is on the birth certificate. I have family in Australia, I was also born there and I wish to take my daughter out the uk and live permanently in oz. I feel she would have a better lifestyle, education, I would also be able to go to university, we already have a place to live, father has also offered to pay anything needed until I was qualified to work. I currently have a solicitor but honestly much help as a chocolate teapot! I’m at my wits end to take the next step, I’m confused with all the laws about taking child out uk, I’m totally stuck please help someone…..?
    Thanks lisa

    • BobinOz July 16, 2013, 8:03 pm |


      You really do need a solicitor to help you with this, and if the one you are using is a chocolate teapot, get a different solicitor. You need to make sure this is done properly and you have the necessary paperwork that you might require to take your child out of the UK.

      Good luck!


  • karen June 7, 2013, 8:13 pm |


    Bobs right. I’m in N.I and the courts are even stricter in Scotland.You need the consent of the Dad especially if the child is regularly seeing him/having contact. In my case the childrens father is Australian but living here and wants to go back with the kids. Much was made of the fact that the kids have regularly been to see their Aussie relatives during the holidays so they have established family ties.also very stringent contact agreements have been put in place and STILL i am having problems with the Aussie courts who will not consent to a “mirror ” order that has been made in the high court here. Your partner must see a solicitor-in my case I have a solicitor a barrister AND a Queens counsel but I was lucky enough to get legal aid. Its an absolute minefield.
    Could you not consider moving here for a while/ getting married here-might be the best solution for a while.
    best of luck

  • Sav June 5, 2013, 12:20 pm |

    My potential problem appears to be the reverse. I live in Oz and am a citizen I am marrying my partner who lives in Scotland and she has a 12 year old daughter. I believe we will need either a signed consent from the father or court order stating that my partner has sole custody.
    Can anyone shed anymore light ?

    • BobinOz June 5, 2013, 7:09 pm |

      Hi Sav

      Well I’m no lawyer, and I do strongly advise you see one about this if you are hoping to bring your 12-year-old over here to Australia at some point.

      But yes, my understanding is that you do need the signed consent of the father, maybe a court order would do it, but I would think the father would have had to have done something very wrong for a court to rule on that one.

      Again, only my opinion, do see a lawyer.



      • Alan Savage July 14, 2014, 7:48 pm |

        Married in Scotland last November 30th and brought them back to Oz one week after. All settled just waiting on their temp/perm visas. Medicals done. Her father signed the 1229 form. Thanks all. Happy days.

  • karen May 14, 2013, 6:00 am |

    i am sorry to hear of your troubles and that you are so unhappy. if you had read any of my previous posts you would know that you are quite lucky in that at least you and the childrens father are not at odds and he appears to be reasonable.
    I have just had aHigh court ruling handed down to me although admittedly my ex will not be able to take the kids to live in oz unless very strict conditions are observed.
    this includes him putting down a payment to the courts here in N.I of 30,000 aus dollars and a corresponding payment of roughly £19,000 here to be kept in the courts for him to bring them here for contact with me or if he defaults for me to go there.
    When it was clear to me that the judge after many months of my children being interviewed by official solicitors etc was going to allow them to leave I did the only thing that i could in that i tried to get the best insurance for me and them that i could.
    They are still going and i can not do anything about it except what i have done.
    The dad is financially tied in until my youngest is 21 (she is 13 now) and unless you have a very good relationship with the dad and you trust hin i would suggest that you seek legal advice and try to safeguard your intersts because when things like this happens sometimes it can get very nasty.
    One of my kids wants to go and the other one doesn’t but I think it would be worse for me to split them up as this would not be good for them, thats why i did that deal if thats what it can be called, I would rather they were togheter and i knoe at least like this they will be back.
    Its something to think about Michelle.
    Don’t despair just yet but look after yourself DONT do anything unless you have checked it out and I will pray for you and your wains.

    love Karen from Derry

  • Michelle May 6, 2013, 1:24 am |

    Yes. Aussie stuck in Norway. Spelling mistake.. really managed to stuff up my life. Been reading a lot about this today and think I am totally stuffed. Only way out is probably for my husband to agree to spilt up the kids so I at least get 1 or 2..terrible, but can’t live here anymore

    • BobinOz May 6, 2013, 2:05 pm |

      That, Michelle, sounds like an absolute nightmare. Sorry it turned out like this for you, I hope you find a way to resolve it. Cheers, Bob.

  • Michelle May 5, 2013, 8:09 am |

    Hello. I cried reading these comments. Have 3. Children. Living in Norway, from oz.Moved here for 1 year, now been here 10. Husband and I always agreed to move back.. he postponed it all the time. But it was only a bit over a year ago that he admitted he never wanted to move to Australia. I left everything, worked hard here to save to make our life in australia, had 3 wonderful children. And now I feel like I am inprison. We are still together, barely. As I can’t get over what he has done to me and am so unhappy. After reading this, and I already knew… There is no way out. RePly managed to stuff my life up at now 37…

    • BobinOz May 6, 2013, 12:16 am |

      Am I reading this correctly Michelle? Are you an Aussie who moved to Norway and thought it would be temporary, but now you are stuck there? And I don’t know what RePly is, can you tell me?

  • Tracy March 8, 2013, 7:54 am |

    Last year, my son’s father married an Australian girl and moved from Hawaii to Australia. Now that my ex is retired from the US Navy, our son (15) asked if he could live with him. My ex has given us every excuse in the world on why he can’t. His top 3 reasons why (his words – not mine) (1) He has to obtain a Visa. My ex said his Visa took 9 months (ok, so it’s not impossible). (2) We won’t be able to transfer school credits to Australia and\or back to the US when he goes to college. (3) Australia won’t allow him to enter if he says he has done drugs. Our son smoked pot once. He was truthful about it and has passed every random drug test given to him. So, is my ex being truthful?

    • BobinOz March 8, 2013, 4:59 pm |

      Well, your son would certainly need a visa to enter the country, but I have no idea of how the US school credits thing works. The 3rd issue is “unlikely” to be an issue in my view, to fail the character test for Australia usually requires the applicant to have been convicted of a crime and, my understanding is, have served some prison time.

      So I doubt a teenager experimenting once is going to be an issue. Your ex is probably being truthful inasmuch as it’s how he understands it, but there are far greater issues to take into account, in particular the Hague Convention.

  • Karen Sandy January 11, 2013, 5:06 am |

    Bob and for anyone else who it helps-

    As previously mentioned I am in N.I. and ex is trying to take the kids to Oz.
    I have found out the following via my Queens Counsel here in Belfast :
    If you move to Oz and are not married/Aussie citizen (like me only I was only on hols!)
    you are not entitled to any legal help in Oz evn if British/the courts of your country have made orders, and this is also true of contact orders when one parent takes the kids, then once out of the country of birth/recent residence or habitual residence as it is called the child’s new home becomes the habitual residence and the Australin courts recognise only this.
    For anyone in UK facing my particular situation I can say that my QC who is now been brought in to my case has this past year or so represented the mothers of two children whose mums wanted to take then back home follwing the breakdowns of their marriages. In one case was Canada the mum wanted to go home the child was of age and herself wanted to go and that was granted.The other case was a Turkish lady, the child was little but it was also granted.
    However both these cases are under appeal,I myself was in court and heard this – the justice in my case is unwilling to rule on our case until the judgement of the lord cheif justice releases his decision plus lots of other things have been ordered such as the official solictor has been appointed for the childrens interests and so on .
    I say this- where there is life there is hope.
    Whatever your partcular situation do as Bob says and get LEGAL ADVICE.

    Regards karen
    and jackie i feel for and totally identify with what happened you. Good luck all

    • BobinOz January 12, 2013, 4:44 pm |

      I couldn’t agree more Karen, for situations like these it is essential to seek legal advice. Good luck to you and to everybody else currently battling with these issues.


  • Karen Sandy November 25, 2012, 2:29 am |

    Hi Bob
    I have a very potentially serious situation regarding my children. I am trying to find help and advice/websites or organisations I can contact. I am from and resident in Northern Ireland. My children were born here, their father is Australian and has had leave to reside although he retains his Aussie passport ( childrens are British.)
    he has had residency order for them for some years but i have them weekends. Our relationship has finally broken up in the past 3 years, I am engaged to someone else who can and will support me and my children ( however I work). My ex wants to move back to Oz and take the children with him,this is going through High court’I need to know if he is allowed and will not comply with any holiday/contact arrangements he may not honour( history of this) am I entitled to get any help or legal aid in the event of having to fly there/legal costs as I am a British/Irish citizen?
    I would appreciate any help and any names of organisations I could ask. i have already looked up the Hague Convention and the Australin legal society/assoc -hague is no help as it does not provide for this except in cases of actual abuction- and the legal people are vague.
    I can tell you that in 1999 my youngest son was actually subject to Hague and I got him back here- but I had to go on a 90 day visa, could claim benefits or any aid

    Any help or advice would be very welcome. i am tearing my hair old, the children are 14 and 12 -Caolan and Eimear.
    karen from Derry

    • BobinOz November 26, 2012, 2:59 pm |

      Sorry to hear about your situation Karen, these are questions that really need to be addressed to a lawyer, I’m afraid I am not able to help. I don’t even know of any organisations that could help either, but I would think you are more likely to find that kind of assistance where you live, you really do need somebody who can represent you.

      Maybe somebody else reading this might know of a website that could help, but I don’t. I hope things work out well for you, do let us know how it ends up.



  • Helen September 12, 2012, 8:03 am |

    Hi Fidelma,

    If the father is not registered on the birth certificate then the chances are that, no, you will not need the father’s permission to emigrate with your child. However, you might want to seek some legal advice fro the country that you live in.

    • BobinOz September 12, 2012, 3:42 pm |

      Yes, I too once heard (long while ago) that if the father’s name does not appear on the birth certificate then the father doesn’t have the same rights. Whether that covers this issue or not, I don’t know and just like Helen, I suggest you seek solid legal advice. Good luck!

  • Fidelma September 12, 2012, 7:52 am |

    I am a single with one child, the childs father has no contact with him & his name is not registered on his birth certificate but he does pay monthly maintainance. Would i still need his permission to emigrate with my child?

    • Karen Sandy January 11, 2013, 4:17 am |


      I am assuming here that you wish to emigrate from here to Oz. I note that although the fathers name is not on the birth cert and he has no contact- he still pays maintenance which means that he accepts the child as his.
      Unless this is a casual arrangement and not via courts ,child support agencies etc he still has a claim on the child.He could force dna tests at any time.
      I have extensive experience ( I am in Northern Ireland) of the courts and have been in the High court in Belfast for years for one thing and another. Presently he is trying
      to take our children to Oz to live (he is an aussie national and i am trying to stop him).
      He has never paid maintenance for the kids but the same time it is joint custody even though his name is not down on the youngest child birth cert. He does have therefore the kids half the time.
      It seems to me that he is willing to pay for the child but not have any relationship so in my experience I beleive the courts will this into account whether you are going there or coming back especially if you can demonstrate work/financial prospects and family/support for you and your child.
      bob has my email. If you want you can contact me .


  • Lesley Johnson July 9, 2012, 6:48 pm |

    Thanks Bob. Please feel free to pass on my email to Helen. Thank you Helen for your comment. I see that Perth and Australia in general is beautiful but just not for us. I agree Bob, but I understand why people move here. They just dont seem to be working for me too much. I wish they were but unfortunately, there are so many other factors important to me. :o( xx

    • BobinOz July 10, 2012, 12:22 pm |

      I have just sent you both and email with your emails addresses on it. Sorry Perth didn’t work out for you Lesley, I hope things do work out for the best in future.

  • Lesley Johnson July 8, 2012, 11:10 am |

    I am in what might be the beginning of a very similar situation. I want to move back desperately to give my two children the same as Helene wrote about. Work/general opportunities, family, friends, good education, cultural awareness (UK and Europe in general) and just the fact that in fact there is FAR more to do in UK. I am in WA and I am bored. Everything is ‘ooh there is a new park/cafe,…’ that doesnt do much for my now 3 year old. A park is a park. I want and she craves more!! My partner doesnt want to move. I am so unhappy. I am angry, upset, frustrated, unimportant, no job prospects (I would like to pursue my career as a Modern Foreign Languages Teacher in French and Spanish) – I feel like an extra in our relationship. I am glad I found this website. Although I already saw a programme about it ‘Insight’ so I was aware but NOT before I came to Oz. I was only 15 weeks pregnant when we arrived. Have been here almost 4 years. I am solely reliant on my partner (we are not married but been together over 6 years) I feel I have lost my identity, my style of dress, character , everything. I come from Greater London and although I would ever live in a big city (centre), I miss the hustle and bustle to go and see theatres, museums etc…ALL of which I know my daughters would love! We were in UK for 2 months last years and my eldest couldnt get enough of the Natural History Museum at just 2.5 years of age! I missed all the things she could enjoy, learn about and absorb at this essential time now she is young.

    Anyway, I am glad I found this website. Thanks, :o)

    • Helen July 9, 2012, 4:11 am |

      Hi Lesley,
      I totally understand how that feels. I felt just like that, only it just got worse and worse for me personally. If you want to talk or keep in touch, have some potential advice on what to expect get the administrator to give you my e-mail address.

      Best of luck,


      • BobinOz July 9, 2012, 4:54 pm |

        Yes, certainly sounds as though Australia hasn’t worked out for you Lesley, I suppose it’s not for everyone. Let me know if you want me to pass on your e-mail address to Helen.



    • Joanne January 10, 2013, 9:36 am |

      Hi Lesley,
      I’m in a similiar situation and would love to chat privately if you are willing. If you are then please can Bob pass on my email.
      Many thanks

      • BobinOz January 10, 2013, 9:41 pm |

        If Lesley gives me permission, I will certainly pass on her email to you Joanne.


  • Helen June 29, 2012, 12:24 am |

    Hi Maria,

    Think we need to get the website administrator to pass on our e-mail addresses. Not sure if this will post on. But my facebook is befriend me!

    • BobinOz June 29, 2012, 7:56 pm |

      A very, very sad story indeed and one that illustrates just how important it is to fully understand the rules.

      I don’t think the Hague Convention is a bad thing, and it is probably the case that the courts in whichever country it is have their hands tied by the rules. They cannot overrule the Hague Convention.

      If you look at the flipside, actually the Hague Convention is a very good thing. Supposing two unhappily married people with a child are living in the UK. Let’s suppose one of them leaves a note for the other on the kitchen table that says “me and the kid have moved to Australia because I don’t love you any more”.

      Supposing, Helen, you got home from work one day while still living in England and you found a similar note from your ex and he had stolen your daughter and taken her to New Zealand. You would want her back, wouldn’t you? If he doesn’t have signed legal documents from you allowing him to take his daughter out of the country to NZ, then the Hague Convention will make sure you get her back.

      But when people emigrate together, that’s when problems can and do happen.

      This, in a nutshell, is what I believe every parent should know….

      If both parents agree to move to another country, that’s fine. But understand this; if just one of you decides they want to move back, they will need signed permission from the other half if they want to take their child or children with them. No signed permission, then they would have to stay or go back home alone.

      If anybody is unsure about the strength of their relationship and children are involved, don’t move. Stay where you are.

      I know that doesn’t help either of you Helen and Maria, but I don’t think it does any harm to keep on mentioning it. It might just help somebody else.

      If you two haven’t managed to hook up together, I am happy to send both of you each other’s email addresses, just pop a comment here (from both of you) and I’ll do it.

      Take care.


      • maria June 29, 2012, 11:11 pm |

        Thank you very much Bob you can will be great::)) i wanted to share my story with Helene that in the end have ended very happy, hope to happen to other mothers as well. thank you so much for reply!

        • BobinOz June 30, 2012, 7:06 pm |

          I have sent you both an email, so you will now have each other’s addresses. Thanks for popping by and taking the time to comment on my website. Good luck to you both and I hope everything works out in the end.

  • maria June 28, 2012, 11:15 pm |

    I totally understand and i do know how you feel, i live in Au and i been to hell and back also similar situation, do you have an e-mail so i can tell you my story i too embarrased to display here::((

    • Helen June 29, 2012, 12:52 am |

      Are you able to see my e-mail address?

  • Helen June 28, 2012, 10:33 pm |

    I know, Maria. And thank you for commenting.
    It’s being caught between a rock and a hard place. Kids need 2 parents in an ideal world I totally get that. But when it was killing me to live in New Zealand, well that’s just terrible. I do believe, as controversial as it sounds, that kids, especially young kids, need their mum’s more than dad’s in the majority of families. As I mum I went through pregnancy, breast feeding, feeding, nurturing, teaching my child every day. I did the lion’s share. Until the day a man can give birth to a child, then and only then should he have the overwhelming right to decide on a child’s future habitual home. The thing is, my daughter’s father is very selfish in nature, and he lived in the UK, he know’s my set up in the UK and how comfortable our daughter has it here. When you’re a parent you don’t “own” your children, but you have a special job to do in raising them to be the best they can be, and that means putting your own selfish ego behind.

  • maria June 28, 2012, 10:18 pm |

    i have read your story and i feel for you, sadly what happen is terrible, i know how it feels, i been there is a terrible feeling, but i do believe you had to make that choice in this case i would like to say what kind of a men does that to his daughter take a child from a mother, shame on him he is a criminal!!!

  • Helen June 28, 2012, 9:11 pm |

    It happened to me and my daughter- this is true, and anybody thinking of moving abroad with their kids MUST know this. I am gob smacked to find that incredibly few people are aware of the implications. I found out the hard way.

    I’ve been through the family court wringer in New Zealand applying to relocate with my daughter back to the UK. I went to hell and back and then some.
    I understand how awful it is, especially when you are alone and a million miles from home and support when you need it most.
    I felt, and I believe many other share the same experience, that the courts immediately put you on the back foot for wishing to relocate and change your child’s status quo. However I believe my reasons were very reasonable- I simply wished my daughter to have a better life as I think most parents naturally do. I wanted to move back home to the UK for familiarity, family, friends, support network, better job opportunities, more affordable living and better financial security to offer my child. The courts used all sorts of things against me, and glossed over the father’s negative points (they there were some major concerns, such as pot smoking, being abusive, and being work shy) supporting their own citizens. I looked bad in the courts eyes for evening mentioning these things and I felt I’d have more chance of a successful relocation if I just shut up about that. New Zealand prefer the “friendly” approach to relocation. However you are damned form the beginning, eventually I realized that I would never be granted permission to relocate back to the UK with my daughter. I clearly stated that I did not at all want to cut out my daughter’s father from her life. Quite the opposite, I wouldn’t have moved to NZ in the first place if I didn’t want my daughter to have a father. I generously offered him 4 holidays per year in NZ and UK and a computer and internet service to keep in regular touch and I would foot the bill for all of that. It’s not ideal, but when 2 parents are from different countries it’s the best solution I could come up with. The father said no, that he will have our daughter full time and I can come and visit her. I am not a bad person at all, I’m a normal regular mummy. I would understand it if I had some terrible flaw, like being on heroin or something like that, but I’m not like that at all!
    My daughter was born in the UK and I was never married to her father. We were together for a year and a half while we both lived in the UK. We moved to NZ when our daughter was 6 months old. I knew early on I wasn’t happy in NZ, and there was none of the father’s family nearby either, they all live 6 hours drive away. I was feeling isolated and depressed, with little work opportunity. I have previously had a lucrative career in the UK and my aim was to replicate that in NZ, but unfortunately after exhausting every avenue it was not happening. My ex asked me to give it another year, which I did. So by the time I had completely made up my mind to return home to the UK we had been living there for 2 years. At the point of applying for relocation I thought “2 years, whoop-de-do”, the courts can clearly see that we’ve never settled here? No, they didn’t!
    I spent 2 years going through an agonising and expensive court process, enduring further abuse from the father and felt like I was living in hell. I was advised by my lawyer that to apply for a protection order in NZ would put me out of the running for relocation as the judges view that as a barrier to relocation, so I had no choice but to suffer on thinking of the long term goal, to get back home. I bent over backwards to be nice to the father, to try and make things as comfortable as possible, but things got worse and worse.
    By the end of 2 years fighting twice in the courts for relocation, it was clear that the courts were not in support of my daughter relocating back to the UK anyway!
    I was ill, skinny, messed up, a shell of my former self. I was permanently run down. I knew I couldn’t take any more. I felt like I was going to die within a year. That is no way to be a good parent to your child, my child was suffering because of my anguish. And I felt the awful conflict between my and the dad would never cease, it would only get worse. That’s no good for a child to see. Such a contrast to the happy day she was born and my excited hopes for her future, ones that I thought her dad shared too.
    I returned to the UK with my child end of 2011, my father was ill and consequently died. Despite this I started to feel happier, being back home and feeling for the first time in years safe. I could see an attainable future again. My daughter was also the happiest she’d been in years and we maintain regular phone and skype contact with her dad. In NZ it was living in permanent limbo, and having to run every life decision past the father, you lose your human right to autonomy in so many ways, and an abusive man uses the courts to gain more control. I knew that I couldn’t return to NZ in my heart and health. Her father applied through the Hague convention to have our daughter returned to NZ and was successful. All those clauses in the Hague convention (clause 13 b regarding grave risk of harm to the child) mean nothing. No matter how depressed I had been feeling in NZ and the knock on effect that had on my daughter the fact that we’d had shared care and he was willing to have her full time meant that was no defence. The abuse we’d suffered wasn’t bad enough, and they advised that NZ could sort out a protection order upon our return, they can’t do that before you leave. I have found out each country interprets 13 b differently, and even in very serious high end abuse, the Hague policy is to return the child to the other country and to get the social services of that other country to intervene. Who would want to live in the other country under a protection order when you can live in your home country and feel safe?
    Sadly I had to let my daughter go back with her dad recently. She is only just 5. She was ripped from my arms crying and screaming and saying quite clearly that she wanted to stay with me. Her father came to collect her.
    I am choosing to remain in the UK without her. To some that might seem terrible, as when you become a mum you stick by your kids through thick and thin, end of. I also feel like that. I am a good mum. But I view it as self preservation. I’d rather get myself strong, being home and happy and importantly alive for her when she is older and needs me. I just know I couldn’t carry on living lie that in NZ any more as I would be little use to her feeling the way I did. Or worse I would die. I really tried very very hard to make a life in NZ, but I just wasn’t big enough or strong enough to hack it.

    • Jackie September 20, 2012, 2:09 am |

      Was like reading my own story, I moved to Australia Dec 2006 5 weeks later my father had terminal cancer. I returned to the UK June 2007 before he died, my ex wouldnt let me return to the UK with the children until then. We were never married either. I made my feeling clear that Australia just wasnt the right place to be following my fathers death, my Mum needed me and I needed her. My ex refused to return and threatened he would not let me take the children back home to the UK. He became more aggressive and violent towards me. I did have a protection order issued to him following an attack in front of our daughter. He then had me in court the following week for an emergency order to stop the children leaving Australia. like you I had no means of work the only income I had was $300 from my ex per week, some use that was when the rent was $375 alone, my family transfered funds to me to help get through the coming months of a court case, he even froze all our assets, just so I couldnt get access to any finances, I was lucky I had a family who could help until our assets were released. I was horrified that Australian courts even got involved we had only been there 10 months and spent 3 of them back in the UK following my fathers death. It then took me 6 months of court hearings (I refused to wait for hearing dates of months down the road, I insisted on hearings being within a 2 week period, you dont need to be bullied by the court system as well as a vindictive ex) and a very expensive lawyer to get a leave to remove order with holidays in Australia and the UK just to go home I came home in 2008 and cried for weeks, with relief and happiness that I was home, trust me I never thought I was going to be allowed home, I felt like a prisoner in a forgeign country. I was happy and settled, our daughter communicates via skype, telephone, e-mail etc on a regular basis with her father. In 2008 she went to visit her father for 4 weeks all was well until he was to return her, I recieved an e-mail the day before saying he was keeping her, luckily I made the trip with her and stayed in a hotel. I then had to get a recovery order for the AFP to locate her and return her this took a further 5 days to locate her and have her returned. He got no more than a slap on the wrist from the Judge. I returned to the UK and refused contact in Australia. He could have his 8 weeks a year in the Uk as and when it suited him. He never visited her once. 30th March 2012 he came to the UK using forged documents and abducted her. Of course I am using the Hague for her return, but dont be dismayed its a lengthy process, just because Australia have served him papers to voluntarily return her doesnt mean he has to, hes using his defence as allowed, our hearing isnt until 5th November and even then if Australia still order her return, hes allowed to appeal. That I can guarantee he will do. I have since leaving Australia spoke with many families that have seperated and just because one parent wants to stay the other has no choice but to stay too. Looks like even a leave to remove order isnt sufficient enough either. I am now in a position to possibly moving back there just because my ex is still wanting to control my life. Fingers crossed the Hague works and my daughter gets home soon.

      • Helen September 20, 2012, 3:32 am |

        Bloody hell! Honey, I hope everything works out well. I must admit, that I feel international relationships are full of perils, and therefore wish with hindsight that I’d stuck to a nice British bloke. It’s not the same thing at all if you’re both from the same country and the kids won’t suffer the stress in the same way, However, there are many international relationships that work really well. Good luck! By the way have you contacted the Uk charity Reunite. They are bloody brilliant. x

    • Oma November 3, 2013, 2:23 pm |

      Dear Helen,

      What a very courageous but sad story to hear. I am Mary a grandmother of two with another on the way. I understand very well about the law and conditions in New Zealand. At this moment I think that the law in NZ is a circus for over grown people who still live in the 16th century. Facts that support this is the number of child abuse and deaths that have occurred by many due to a system that has been dysfunctional for years with lawyers who come together and have lunch or coffee and discuss the outcomes of any hearing before its even presented or heard in court.

      I am speaking from experience of fighting for my grandson with my daughter who is a good mother who is not a drug user or an alcoholic. We have fought with the courts for 7years and it became too much for my daughter and myself. Everything from the child psychologist to the councillor were all in our favour of having my grandson come home. The judge, my grandsons lawyer, and the others down at the court house in Wellington went against the child psychologist and our lawyer and said that they were bias or prejudice against gay rights or gay people and we lost the final case, as this was already decided before we could have a say so. Our case was never a sips or child welfare case but between my baby sister who is only the grand aunt and my daughter.

      In the end, I questioned the judge, “where is the right for a biological, good parenting skills and mothers” right to be a mother cause my daughters rights were taken away. Today we now live in Australia with the account to only talk to my grandson when the occasion suits the psychological parents as the court puts it.

      You stay positive Helen for your daughter, because something I’ve learnt from all this is that the system or policies that these people make up to protect themselves or the parents whether mother or father are only policies that are put in place to suit themselves and to keep them in business after all money always has a major factor in these schemes. And policies can always be changed or removed. My daughter and I know that my grandson will come looking for us and we will tell him the truth which was never told to him from the beginning by the so called psychological parents that he now has.

      God Speed Helen and as we natives say kia kaha (Stay strong) even when our loved ones are not with us.

      From a friend Mary

  • Marion brocklebank June 6, 2012, 5:20 am |

    Hi, my brother went to Australia with his partner and her son. Since they have been out there they have had a baby. None have permanent residence as yet. My brother has decided to come back to England has the relationship has broken down. His partner has refused to go back, she only does 2 days a week work so will be unable to pay her bills etc. Will she be allowed to stay in Australia without my brother? It will devastate him not being able to see his child.

    • BobinOz June 6, 2012, 8:07 pm |

      That’s a question for a lawyer, but as your brother’s partner does not have permanent residency, surely she will have to return soon? You need to check out the rules of the Hague Convention, but you will have to look deep, the situation sounds very tricky.

      Good luck!

  • Ange January 9, 2012, 9:15 am |

    I currently live in NZ with my daughter. My partner (ex) is going to move to Melbourne. Do i need his permission for me and my daughter to move to Brisbane once he takes off to Melbourne? I would think not as Brisbane is closer to Melbourne than NZ….
    Please help? I want to move to Brisbane to be with my sister and her bubba to be.

    • BobinOz January 9, 2012, 6:16 pm |

      That’s a question for a lawyer, because whatever you do you want it to be watertight. I would think you would be able to sort something out, there’d be no advantage to anybody for you to stay in NZ.

      Good luck!

  • BobinOz January 15, 2011, 7:35 pm |

    It is a very difficult situation and I do feel for you. But I am afraid my opinions can’t help you. But for what it’s worth, the only opinion I do have is that I think you would hate your life with out your child so maybe your task is to learn to love Australia.

    Sorry, but it’s all I’ve got.

    • Christ December 7, 2014, 1:42 pm |

      Hi, Bob,

      You explained it nicely. But most people from Western countries are having the marital relationship problem. But in India where I do live and want to migrate to Australia hopefully would not happened as you mentioned. Because in India love and relationship is very important than the rest of the world. This I know personally and traveled the half of the world.

      With regards,


      • BobinOz December 8, 2014, 4:54 pm |

        Love is quite important to us here as well Christ, it’s just that when things don’t work out we allow ourselves to break free from those relationships. I think what happens in India is that it is probably much harder to get a divorce, or that divorce is a bit of a taboo subject or regarded as a little shameful.

        I’m guessing a bit, but would you think these things are possible?

        Cheers, Bob

  • maria January 11, 2011, 10:46 pm |

    thank you for your help,am so so sad, my ex is keeping me here to punish me cause i dont love him anymore, he made me a promise to let me go with baby if he did not like to come and i woul go back to my family if marriage did not work…what to say how can i lease my son only 4 ang go back to italy?? or i stay with his father i dont get along and get older in oz for another 10 years i’ll be 40 it will be too late for my life to start again??and by then my son 14 can decide to come with me or stay here?? help please with your opinions!

  • BobinOz January 11, 2011, 7:08 pm |

    Hi Maria

    So sorry to hear about your situation, but you are not alone, many people are in the same boat. What can you do? Very little, as I understand it, but you should at least see a solicitor.

    May I suggest you go over to an excellent forum about moving to Australia and read the very long thread all about this subject. You will also meet people in exactly the same situation that you are in.

    You can read it by clicking this link… pomsinoz/hague

    Hope it helps and good luck.

  • maria January 8, 2011, 3:37 pm |

    hi,am from europe i been here 5 years, i have a child i want to go back home but my ex says no!!!!

    what can i do??

    thank you

    • Sarah November 29, 2015, 12:37 am |


      I feel for you there is a group on facebook called Expat Stuck Mums. I am still hoping my husband will see sense and realise that our lives where better back in Australia. Our marriage has struggled since we moved from the UK to Australia but coming back for me has only made things worse his mother is ill and so he is insisting we all stay. I crave to go back? Our lives have suffered and I am not sure if I should try and stick it out as best I can or keep pushing for a return. I know I can’t take my kids back to Australia without his approval if he doesn’t want to come so I am stuck too. I can’t afford to rent anywhere on my own in the UK and buying somewhere half decent to bring up my kids will be out of my finances so I am having to hope he will come round but it sure is hard… All these stories make me realise I need to try the slowly slowly approach. Any way here is the link should you need it. I am still hoping I can work things out with my husband, fingers crossed he will see how wonderful Australia is compared to the UK really soon.

      The whole situation for those stuck should be based on what is best for the child and common sense but this is the legal system I guess it is hardly surprising. My heart goes out to all the children and family affected xxx

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