What happens if I am worried about the mother or father taking my child/children overseas without my consent?

16/07/2014

Depending upon the urgency of the matter an application could be filed in the Family Court of Australia and steps could be taken immediately to place the child/children’s name on the Airport Watch List.

This will prevent a child leaving the country from an airport or by way of cruise ship. This will allow time for a determination by the Courts or by agreement as to whether the child/children can travel from Australia. Sometimes and almost always there are conditions placed upon the terms upon which children can travel from Australia.

One thing is for certain, it is easier and cheaper to have this matter determined in Australia and to take the precaution of having the child/children put on the Airport Watch List rather than trying to recover them once they have gone. In cases of concern that the child/children will be taken from Australia urgent action is required.

In one extreme case, Watson & Watson was able to have an order made following receipt of a telephone call from one parent of a child advising that the child was at the airport about to board a plane for overseas. This is an extreme case but urgent action was needed and an order was made within an hour to stop the child leaving the country. Eventually in that case there was resolution and the child remained in Australia where the child then and has since spent considerable time with each of the parents over a number of years. The child has had time with each parent rather than having been deprived of time with one of the child’s parents.

We can also assist parents in taking proactive steps by way of obtaining certain types of parenting orders to ensure that your child/children is not removed from Australia without your consent. These steps may include the following:

  • Obtaining a Court order to prohibit the removal of the child from Australia;
  • Obtaining a parenting order which directs the Australian Federal Police to put the child/children’s name(s) on the Airport Watch List;
  • Obtaining an order with respect to the child/children’s passport(s).

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