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The world has re-opened: Considerations for separated parents before you board

The restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic are behind us; the borders have re-opened; and the world is once again available for us to explore.  As parents seek to travel overseas and expose their children to other cultures, languages, and experiences, separated parents must remember that if they are subject to parenting orders or have an active parenting case, they must obtain the consent of the other parent or permission from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia before jetting overseas with their children.

There is no specific provision in the Family Law Act 1975 that sets out what a Court needs to consider if a parent brings an application seeking to travel internationally with a child. Thankfully, the issue has been discussed in a large number of cases, which provide the guiding principles for Courts determining applications of this nature.

The case law suggests that the questions the Court should consider in determining an application for international travel include: the length of the proposed stay out of Australia; the effects on the child of time away from the other, non-travelling parent; any threats to the welfare of the child and the circumstances of the proposed environment of travel; the degree of satisfaction the Court may have in the travelling parent’s promise to return to Australia; whether a financial security is appropriate; any hardship issues; and whether the country of proposed travel is a member of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) (“the Hague Convention”).

In circumstances where consent or Court order has not been obtained, children can be placed on an Airport Watch List which prevents their removal from Australia.  Don’t take the risk – obtain consent or an order, so you can enjoy the opportunity to expose your children to all that the wider world has to offer.

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