Paterson, Department of Health and Community Services v. Casse (1995) FLC 92-629, [1995] FamCA 71

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The children, two boys and a girl, were 8, 6 and 4 respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in both Mauritius and Australia. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody.
On 13 January 1995 the parents and children obtained visas for Australia which entitled them to remain there for a maximum of three months. On 17 January 1995 the family arrived in Australia.
The mother applied for permanent residency on the ground that the maternal grandmother, a resident of Australia by marriage, was dependent upon her. The mother was granted the title of main applicant and consequently the father and children were also entitled to be considered for permanent residence.
On 21 February 1995 the mother and father applied for permanent residence in Australia. On 19 March, following arguments between the parents, the father informed the mother that he intended to return with the children to Mauritius.
On 20 March the father wrote a letter withdrawing the family’s application for permanent residence. On 24 March the father wrote another letter, signed by himself and the mother, stating that they wished to continue with their application.
On 27 March 1995 the father was informed that he had been permanently removed from the immigration application because of his letter of 20 March 1995.
The mother then obtained ex parte custody orders and a restraint on the father from removing the children from Australia. On 3 July the State Central Authority, on behalf of the father, filed an application under the Convention seeking the return of the children to Mauritius.