06 June 2018

Bon Voyage! Travelling overseas with your children after separation

While it is not uncommon for a parent to want to travel overseas with their children following a separation it can sometimes be a point of conflict between parents.

Applying for a passport

The first hurdle for many parents will be applying for a passport for their child.  A passport will only be issued by the Australian Passport Office if both parents provide consent and sign the application form.  If one parent refuses to sign the application form then the other parent may need to apply to the Family Court in order for their child to be issued a passport.

Seeking consent from the other parent to travel

Regardless of whether a child has a passport, a parent who wants to travel with their child should obtain the consent of the other parent before taking the child overseas and prior to making any travel arrangements.

If the other parent does not consent to the proposed travel then the parent who seeks to travel with the child will need to make an application to the Family Court that the child be permitted to accompany them on a holiday.  The court will consider, amongst other things, the following factors:

  1. the length of the proposed travel;
  2. whether the travel will interrupt the other parent’s time with the child and if so, whether alternate make up time is offered;
  3. the destination country; and
  4. whether there is a risk that the child may not be returned to Australia.

Preventing a parent from travelling with a child

If a parent has concerns that their child may be taken overseas by their former partner without their consent, then immediate legal advice should be sought.

The Family Court has the power and discretion to:

  1. prevent a parent from travelling overseas with their child;
  2. require that a child’s passport be held by one parent or by the court; and
  3. place a child’s name on the Family Law Watchlist (previously known as the Airport Watchlist).

Our family law team has significant experience in assisting parents with issues concerning overseas travel.  For more information please contact one of our experienced family lawyers today on 07 4036 9700.

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