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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5420
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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My granddaughter aged 15 briefly lived with her father

Customer Question

My granddaughter aged 15 briefly lived with her father following a period of rebellious behaviour her mother found difficult to deal with. All went well for around 6 weeks when the father who has always had drug issues suddenly verbally abused the child telling her she had "stuffed up his life". The distressed child was immediately taken back into her mother's care. Unfortunately she had take her passport & birth certificate plus other items when she packed & these were not got back. The father now refuses to return them. Is he entitled to keep his daughter's belongings even though she needs them? Is this a police or family law matter?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Your daughter is entitled to her property from her father, but a passport is technically not her property but the crown's. Whilst the passport was issued for your daughter, it remains state property.

In principle, you daughter is note entitled to hold a passport without the permission of both parties, or alternately a court order.

Whilst your daughter could in principle complain to the police about her property being held by her father, they may not be willing to intervene on the basis it is really a civil matter at this stage. Strictly speaking if she brought the property to his place, he will ordinarily have no obligation to return it, merely an obligation to give her reasonable opportunity to recover the property.

Hopefully the father will calm down and relent, but if not, the legal option is to apply to the court for orders allowing recovery of these items.

I trust the above assists.