Can I travel overseas with our child without the other parent’s consent?

Whether or not you are going through a separation, travelling with children can be overwhelming. Being prepared and having solutions for anticipated hurdles is one of the best things you can do to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.

But what happens when the other parent does not consent to the much anticipated trip? This article is intended to guide separated parents through common hurdles they may face when they are wanting to travel internationally with children, and the other parent does not consent.

Who needs to give consent for a child to obtain an Australian Passport?

Each person who has parental responsibility for a child is required to provide written consent before a child’s passport can be renewed or issued.

‘Parental responsibility’ means all the duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.

After separation, unless Court Orders have been made which specifies who has parental responsibility, there is a presumption that the parent recorded on the child’s birth registration have equal shared parental responsibility.

Applying to the Court

If there is no consent for the child to travel, or be issued with an Australian Passport, you will need to apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for approval.

In circumstances where there is a current Order that permits the child to be issued with a passport and/or travel internationally, and the other parent is in breach of their obligation such as co-signing a passport renewal or application, you can also seek assistance from the Court to enforce their obligation or have the requirement for their signature to be dispensed.

It is important to obtain proper legal advice and assistance prior to making an Application to the Court. The Court imposes strict requirements for parties to comply with Pre-Action Procedures prior to making an application to the Court, and failure to comply with those obligations may result in penalties made against you such as a Cost Order.

Early Planning

Seeking an Order from the Court for the issue of a child’s passport, and then permissions to travel is a protracted, expensive exercise, and ordinarily a last resort if matters cannot be resolved through dispute resolution processes.

If you have separated, and intend on travelling internationally with children, providing the other parent as much notice of your intended travel, and seeking their early consent is key.

Providing the other parent with clear details of the intended travel and means of communication between the child/ren and non-travelling parent should also be included.

Providing ample notice will not only allow you sufficient time to address any issues the other parent may have in order for agreement to be reached, but it will also allow you time to consider your options should the other party withhold their consent.

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