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Overseas Travel

Overseas Travel

Posted On: 22 June

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With border restrictions lifted, overseas travel is now alive again. Over the last decade, overseas travel in family law matters has been or is raised as an issue more often. What do you need to know and consider about international travel with your child:

  • Does your child have a valid passport? Which parent holds your child’s passport?
  • Do you have permission to take your child out of Australia?
  • How long are you planning on being out of Australia?
  • Does your child miss out on spending time with the non-travelling parent?
  • Are you travelling to a Hague Convention Country?
  • Do you need the travelling parent to provide a bond (monetary security) for the overseas travel?

The important detail that a separated parent needs to know about travelling with their child overseas, is that both parents need to consent to a child being removed from the Commonwealth of Australia.

In some family law matters, overseas travel with a child is an immediate issue and in other matters, it is an option that parents may want to have in the future. If it is not an urgent immediate issue, parents can discuss overseas travel and the issuing of a passport for a child when they negotiate their parenting arrangements (or parenting order).

In Australia, both parents will need to sign an Australian passport application for their child. Even in cases where one parent has sole long-term parental responsibility for decisions about their child, the Passport Office can still refuse to issue the passport without the other parent’s consent or a specific order from the Court dispensing with that parent’s consent. Section 11 of the Australian Passports Act 2005 (Cth) deals with that issue. It is important that your parenting orders are drafted such that it is enforceable and allows the Passport Office to action the child’s passport application.

If parents are unable to agree on overseas travel for their child or the issuing of a passport, either parent can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for an order allowing the travel. Such an application is a parenting order under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act), which means that the best interests of the child is paramount.

Before a party can file an application with the Court seeking any parenting orders, there is a requirement that the pre-action procedure for parenting cases, pursuant to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021, are considered and followed.

The Act requires a party to make a genuine effort to resolve the parenting dispute using family dispute resolution (FDR) before applying to the Court for a parenting order, which includes an order for overseas travel.

If you are planning to travel overseas with your child, we suggest that you start taking steps to obtain consent from the other party/parent to obtain a passport for your child and to the overseas travel. The pre-action procedure requirements do take time and if Court proceedings are necessary, the delays can be significant.

Rebecca Parry or Candace Watkins at Parry Coates Family Law can assist you with your parenting dispute.  Contact us today on 3532 3826 or info@pcfl.com.au to arrange an initial consultation to discuss your matter.

Alternatively, if you need a mediator or family dispute resolution practitioner, Rebecca Parry is an accredited mediator and FDR Practitioner, and she can be contacted on 3532 3826 or you can find more details here www.rebeccaparrymediator.com.au.

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