Overseas Travel and Separated Parents
Holiday arrangements for children, including a parent taking a child overseas, are a common topic of disputes between separated parents. This can be a very stressful time, particularly if you are concerned that the other parent will take the child overseas without your consent.
If you are concerned that your child will be removed from Australia without your consent, the following steps may be taken;
- If your child does not have a passport and you are concerned that an Australian passport will be issued without your consent, you can make an Application for a Child Alert with the Australian Passport Office. A child alert can be raised against the issue of a passport if the applicant has parental responsibility for the child and they suspect a passport application may be made on behalf of the child in order to remove the child from Australia.
- If your child already has a passport, you can make an Application to the Court for your child’s name to be included on the Airport Watch List. The Court can make Orders which;a. Restrain the removal of the child from Australia
b. Request that the Australian Federal Police place the child’s name on the Airport Watch List; and
c. Request that the Australian Federal Police assist in the implementation of such orders.If such Orders are made, the child’s name will be registered on the Airport Watch List with the Australian Federal Police at all international departure points. If a child is named on the Airport Watch List and they arrive at an international departure point, they will be prevented from boarding the vessel and must remain in Australia. A child’s name can also be added to the Airport Watch List if an Application has been filed with the Court seeking these Orders and the Australian Federal Police have been served with a copy of the Application.Once a child’s name is added to the Airport Watch List, it is necessary to make an Application to remove them if an agreement is reached or an order is made permitting overseas travel.
- Request that the child’s passport be delivered to a solicitor or to the Court and only released with the written consent of both the child’s parents or an Order from the Court. You should carefully consider whether your child is eligible to obtain a passport from any other nation. If so, you should also consider making an Application to place the child on the Airport Watch List.
In the event that you seek to take your child on a holiday overseas and the other parent will not consent to the Application, you should make an Application to the Court for your child to travel internationally. There are number of factors to be taken into account by the Court when determining the application to take the child on a holiday, however, the primary consideration if always the child’s best interests.
If you have any concerns that the other parent is intending to take your child overseas with your consent and without an order from the Court permitting such travel, feel free to contact us at 1300 HATZIS (1300 428 947) to speak with an experienced solicitor.