K.M.A. v. Secretary for Justice [2007] NZFLR 891

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The mother and father were both New Zealand nationals who began their relationship in New Zealand in 2001. Their first child, a son, was born in August 2002. In 2003 the family moved to Australia. The following year the parents married and had their second child, a daughter. The mother also had two children from a previous relationship who lived with the family.
The parents’ relationship was not without difficulties. The mother alleged that she was a victim of the father’s physical and psychological abuse. A domestic violence protection order had been issued in March 2004 in response to an incident to which the police were called. The parents separated permanently on 29 January 2006.
On 7 March 2006 the mother took the children to New Zealand without informing the father. She claimed that she was not able to support herself financially in Australia. In July 2006 the father commenced return proceedings. On 16 October 2006 the Family Court (Christchurch) ordered the return of the children to Australia.
The mother appealed to the High Court. On 16 March 2007 Panckhurst J declined the appeal. The mother then applied for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.