Travelling overseas with children after a separation may raise several concerns. Dealing with them such concerns early can save both time and money. Taking a child on international travel without the permission of the other parent can be considered to be parental child abduction.
Taking a child on international travel without the permission of the other parent can be considered to be parental child abduction.
A primary concern of taking children on international travel is the fear that the children will not return.
This often results in the non-travelling parent refusing to cooperate with international travel plans or taking steps to prevent such travel.
Parents who make plans to travel overseas with children may have their international travel plans disrupted, and travel expenses may be lost, if they do not make arrangements with the other parent early in the process.
Do you want to travel overseas with the children?
When deciding on an international destination, check to see if the country you are considering traveling to has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, also known as the Hague Abduction Convention. This is a treaty which commits the countries which have signed the Convention to the return of any child who was taken by one parent from their country of residence without the permission of the other parent. Travel to a country that has not signed this treaty may provide a basis for the other parent to block the children being taken out of Australia.
Discuss your international travel plans with the other parent before making any bookings. Applying for a child’s passport normally requires both parents’ approval, but there are some special circumstances where a passport can be issued with just one parent’s approval. If the other parent refuses to approve a passport application, it may be necessary to apply for a court order for a passport to be issued. As this process could take several months or longer, it should be sorted out well before any travel arrangements are made.
What can I do to prevent my children being taken overseas?
Parents may have valid concerns about their children travelling internationally. These concerns may be reinforced if the international travel plans involve a country which has not signed the Hague Abduction Convention.
Consideration should also be given to international travel by children who have passports issued by countries that have not signed the Convention. In such cases it would be simple to change international travel plans to divert to a country that has not signed the Convention.
In situations where a child does not have a passport, a parent may refuse to sign the passport application.
If the parent is concerned that the other parent might attempt to process the application without proper signatures, a Child Alert Request (Form PC9) should be submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Where a child has a passport and a parent is concerned that the other parent intends to take the child on international travel without permission, an application should be submitted to the Federal Circuit Court for a parenting order which limits international travel.
Once the application is filed with the Court, a Family Law Watchlist Request Form should be submitted to the Australian Federal Police.
If you are planning to do international travel with your children and the other parent is not cooperating, or if you believe the other parent intends to leave the country, taking the children without your permission, it is important that you get legal advice as early as possible. Contact A.L.F. Lawyers at 3088 6161 for advice and assistance in getting the outcome you desire.