Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My partner and I are separating and I want to take the kids overseas, what do I need to do?

  • To obtain a child’s passport, written consent is required from each person who has parental responsibility for the child (usually both parents).
  • If you are not able to obtain the other party’s written consent you need to apply to the Court seeking permission to travel internationally (this is so, even if you have a Court Order for sole parental responsibility) as the Passport Office has specific requirements.
  • If you wish to prevent the other party taking a child overseas (if they have the child’s passport) you will need to make an Application to Court seeking an Order preventing the child leaving Australia.  This is called an “Airport Watch Order”.
  • Once you have an Airport Watch Order in place, if you agree in the future for the child to travel overseas you need to apply to the Court before you propose to travel and have the Airport Watch Order removed.
  • Any Court Applications regarding overseas travel need to be supported by Affidavit material setting out various details of the proposed trip, the purpose of the trip and other relevant matters.
  • If you wish to prevent a child being removed from Australia (if they do not yet have a passport) you can make an Application to Court preventing a passport being issued and preventing the child from leaving Australia.
  • If you fear that the other party may attempt to apply for an Australian passport without proper legal consent you can lodged a “Child Alert Request” at any Australian Passport Office.  You will then be notified of any passport application for the child.
  • Special caution needs to be exercised where the children are eligible or where they already have a foreign passport.  A Child Alert does not prevent a child leaving Australia on a valid Australian or foreign passport.  It is recommended that you contact the embassy of the relevant country if you think a passport may be issued by another country.
  • You should seek legal advice if you have a query about travelling internationally with children or considering relocating overseas with children. 

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