The issue of travelling overseas with a child can become a major problem for separated parents, especially when one parent does not provide their consent for overseas travel, or refuses to sign a Passport Application.
In the absence of Court Orders, either parent is technically able to travel with their child wherever they want.
If there are court proceedings underway for parenting matters, or there are Parenting Orders in place, it is illegal for a parent to travel overseas with their child without consent of the other parent or a Court Order.
If intending to travel overseas you should notify the other parent as soon as possible of your intentions and provide as much notice as you can. You should provide copies of the appropriate travel documents, including your flight itinerary, your travel itinerary and contact details for you and/or your child, and the hotels you are staying in while you are away.
If your child does not have a passport, you need the other parent’s consent to travel overseas, as both parents are required to sign a Passport Application.
If the other parent is refusing to sign a Passport Application, you should seek legal advice as you will need to make an application to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or an application to the Court, to permit your child to travel overseas. The Court will generally permit a child to travel overseas, provided it is in the child’s best interests.
If your child has a passport but the other parent does not agree to you travelling overseas, you must be aware that the other parent is able to make an application to the Court to prevent your child from travelling overseas.
A parent may have a good reason for not wanting their child to travel overseas or there may be no good reason at all. Common cases where a parent will make an application to the Court are circumstances where that parent believes the other parent is not intending to return with the child.
If you have any questions regarding overseas travel with your child or are worried about your child travelling overseas without your consent, you should discuss the situation with a lawyer specialising in Family Law without delay.