A MUM who tried to take her two children out of Australia on falsely obtained passports, then hid them from their father, can now only see her kids once a month for two hours.
The mother forged her estranged husband’s signature on the children’s passport applications, but her plan to take them overseas fell apart because of an airport alert.
A recovery order for the children had been issued just weeks earlier, the Family Court in Brisbane heard.
When stopped by a Customs Officer in Sydney, as they were about to board an overseas flight on October 3, 2014 the children ran off.
The mother, her daughter and son then fled in a taxi.
Despite being hidden from authorities , the children participated in a Victorian music competition a month later.
The mother travelled with them in a caravan through several states, homeschooling them, until she was arrested by police in NSW in July 2015.
The father did not recognise his children because their hair had been dyed.
They had not attended school for years and their mother had taken them out of the distance education system.
Brisbane Family Court Justice Jenny Hogan has now ordered the children, 17 and 14 this year, to live with their father, with only limited contact with their mother.
This is despite the two children expressing fears about living with their father.
A few months after they were found, the daughter ran away from her father’s home.
The daughter said she did not want to be the “next Luke Batty”, referring to the Victorian boy killed by his father.
The judge said the way the mother fuelled the children’s anxiety about their father was “emotional abuse of the most serious kind”.
“The evidence before me does not provide a basis for a conclusion that there was ever a risk the father would kill the children,” Justice Hogan said.
She also rejected claims he had been cruel to the children.
Justice Hogan took 15 months to deliver the complex judgement, after a four-day hearing, which the mother only attended for one day.