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Child Abduction, Relocation and Passport Consent

Child Abduction

Sometimes the arrangements specified by the Court for a child to spend time with a parent are strongly opposed by the other parent. But even if you disapprove of the Court’s decision and think it’s completely wrong, don’t try to remove the child from the country unless you have the approval of the Court.

Attempting to flee overseas with the child or children is not recommended because:

  • The other parent can arrange to have your name and/or the child’s name placed on a Federal Police watch list, maintained at every international port and airport in Australia. Once listed, you will be unable to leave Australia.
  • It would be contrary to an order of the Family Court and the Court does not take kindly to a party who breaches an order.
  • The child or children may be ordered to be returned to Australia (at your expense) under an international Child Abduction Convention (the Hague Convention), an international agreement that applies in over 85 countries including Australia.
  • If you find that your children have been abducted and taken outside Australia, get legal advice and advise the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department immediately to try to have them returned. If you’re lucky, the children will have been taken to a country that is covered by the Hague Convention. Many countries are parties to this Convention (including most of Europe and the United States) and the return of the children is likely to be enforced.
  • Beware – some of our nearest neighbours (including Malaysia, Indonesia and most Asian countries) are not parties to the Convention and recovery of children from those countries may not be possible.

Relocating and overseas travel

If you want to move a long distance away from your partner sharing time with your children will be difficult. These cases often end up in court because it is difficult to decide who the children should live with when the direct consequence is restricted contact with the other parent.

You should not make any plans to relocate or travel overseas with your children without first obtaining written consent from your former partner or an child custody order from the court allowing you to do so. 

Consent to the issuing of the childs passport

What if the other parent will not consent to the issuing of a passport?

  • A passport for a child will not usually be issued without the consent and signature of all parties with parental responsibility and you should not make arrangements to travel overseas with a child in the absence of consent from the other party. Overseas travel should be planned well in advance and permission from the other party obtained as early as possible.
  •  In cases where the other party is refusing to consent to signing a passport application then it will be necessary to make application to the Court seeking Orders that a passport be issued for the child without the other parent’s consent.

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