If there are current court proceedings underway for parenting matters, or there are currently
Parenting Orders in place, then it is illegal for one parent to take the children overseas
without the consent of the other. However, in the absence of Court Orders then either parent
can technically take the children overseas.
The issue of travelling overseas with children can quickly escalate into a major problem for
separated parents. Sometimes one parent may refuse to provide their consent or sign a
If you are intending on travelling overseas with your children, you should notify the other
parent as soon as possible of your intentions. Once the other parent provides their consent
you should provide them with a copy of your itinerary, flight and hotel details and contact
details while you are away.
If you plan on taking your children overseas and the other parent is refusing to sign a
passport application, then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. You will need
to make an application to the Court or to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to
permit your child to travel overseas. In these circumstances the Court will generally permit
the child to travel overseas if it is within the child’s best interest.
You must remain aware that even if your child already has a passport the other party can still
make an application to the court to prevent your child travelling at any time. Usually, a parent
will make an application to the court if they have fears that the other parent may leave
Australia and is not intending on returning with the child.
If you are concerned about your child travelling overseas without your consent it is important
to contact your lawyer as soon as possible. In urgent circumstances, when there may not be
time to file an application at the Court an application can be made with the Australian
Federal Police to flag your child’s passport if they are attempting to leave the country. This is
called a ‘Child Alert Request’. You can find more information about this service here.