It is not uncommon for parents to want to take their children on holidays including overseas. Obviously, such holidays provide an opportunity for a child to be exposed to a different culture and a different way of life. In order take children overseas, parents need to organise passports and sometimes other travel documents.
Where families are intact, arranging overseas travel is generally not a complicated issue (apart from the actual planning!). However, where parents are separated and there are trust and other issues occurring, a dispute may arise as to whether or not a child can travel overseas.
Under the law, a passport or other travel documents can be obtained for a child if there is consent of each person who has parental responsibility for the child (either because they are a parent or an Order has been made giving someone parental responsibility-including only one parent).
If there is no consent from each person who has parental responsibility for a child, the Minister can still issue the relevant travel documents under very limited circumstances, failing which an application can be made to a Court to permit the travel.
Obviously, every case needs to be determined on its own facts and in any application to a Court seeking Orders to allow a child to travel internationally, the Court will consider many matters to determine what might be in the best interests of the child, including the reason for the travel, how established the family is in Australia and whether there is any foreseeable “flight risk”.
One important thing to remember is that if you already have a Parenting Order, then it is an offence to travel outside of Australia with the children the subject of the Parenting Order unless with the written consent (in a prescribed form) from the other parent or pursuant to Court Order.
If you want to travel overseas with your child or if you have concerns about your child going overseas, then you need advice urgently from a family law specialist. Contact us for advice and help.