Overseas travel and relocating with children

Leisa ToomeyWhen relationships fail it can a difficult time for all involved. Children in particular will feel the stress of having to potentially change homes and schools. And if sorting the day to day issues aren’t complicated enough throw into the mix one parent wanting to relocate or another wanting to take the children on an overseas holiday and issues are bound to arise.

Relocating the children

If you are planning on moving and relocating children to another town, city, state or country you should try and discuss this with the other party to attain their permission. You should also apply for consent orders before you move.

You should not assume you have the right to just move the children with seeking consent from the other party as a court may require you to return until it has considered the case. In the situation where there is already a court order in place, if you relocate the children without consent, you will be breaking that order.

If you cannot agree, you can apply to a court for a relocation order to allow you to move. You will need to bear in mind that if moving the children is going to limit the time the children live with or spend with a parent or another significant person in their lives, a court may not give permission for you to move them. When reviewing your case the Court will consider what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Overseas Travel

If you are planning a holiday, you should advise the other parent (and any other person with parental responsibility) of your intention to travel as soon as possible. It is important that you trip is well planned so that you can provide the other parent with as much detail as possible. Things to include will be where you are going, where you will be staying and all relevant contact details. A copy of your itinerary should also be included.

When applying for a passport for a child written consent is required by both parents. If written consent is not provided by all parties with parental responsibility, you can make a written request to the Approved Senior Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to consider issuing the passport due to ‘special circumstances’.

Sometimes I see cases where there is legitimate concern that a child may be taken out of Australia without permission and not returned. It is important that in these circumstances legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.

To prevent this from happening we can apply to the Court for an order that will prevent a passport being issued for a child. If a passport has already been issued we can apply for an order that requires a person to deliver a child’s or accompanying adult’s passport to the Court. An order can also be made that will prevent a child from leaving Australia.