Typically following separation, parents need to work together to come up with a routine that allows their child to spend meaningful time with both parents. In these circumstances, it can be tricky for a parent to take their child overseas particularly when this means the other parent does not get to spend time during that period. However separation does not mean that parents will miss out on being able to go overseas with their child.
Even though parents can take their child overseas when there is a valid passport and visa, it is a good idea to obtain the other parent’s consent and provide travel information such as the intended destination, itinerary and basic contact details for the child while they are away. This should prevent the other parent from making any unnecessary applications to locate and recover the child. If there are already orders in place or parenting proceedings on foot, then there are other specific procedures that may need to be followed before travel can occur.
When a parent is intending to relocate with their child overseas following separation and the other parent does not consent, it is important to first seek Family Court Orders that permit this relocation. Adhering to this procedure will likely prevent future unnecessary disruptions such as a Court Order being made for the return of a child to their original place of residence despite being settled in a new location.
If there is a risk of a child not being returned to Australia or the other parent is considering permanently relocating overseas with the child without consent, then circumstances can be much more urgent and require prompt action. It is important to get legal advice from a family lawyer as soon as these circumstances arise.
When there is a risk of permanent removal of a child outside of Australia, it may be necessary to place the child’s name on the Australian Federal Police Watch List. This will prevent the child from leaving any airport or seaport in Australia.
In instances where a child has already been removed overseas, there may be ways that the child can be located and recovered depending on which country the child is in. Australia is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. If the country that the child is located in is also a party to this Convention, steps can be taken to return a child to their residence depending on the circumstances.
It is an offence to remove a child from Australia if parenting court orders are in place and the other parent’s consent or a Court Order authorising such travel has not been obtained. Such offence can be punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years.
For more information on taking a child overseas, contact Matthews Folbigg Lawyers in Parramatta on 1800 300 170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of family lawyers consists of Accredited Family Law Specialists who can provide any required assistance.