FAMILY LAW AND OVERSEAS TRAVEl

Are there any laws in place to stop my husband taking my children out of the country on holidays? We are divorced and I’m afraid I may not see them again.

Yes, there are laws in place to stop your husband taking your children out of the country on holidays.

These laws are contained in the Family Law Act which allows, the Family Court to make orders to ensure that your children are not removed from Australia by your husband.

Can I stop a passport being issued for my children?

Under Australian law a passport application for a child needs to be signed by both parents. It is possible for a passport application to be signed by one parent in some circumstances, for instance, if there is a Family Court order in place granting sole parental responsibility to that parent.

If your children do not have passports, you can take steps to ensure that passports are not issued for them. You can prevent passports being issued by lodging a Child Alert Request at an Australian Passport Office. A Child Alert Request means that, if your husband applies for a passport for your children you will be contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, advising you that passport applications have been made for your children. A Child Alert Request will be in force for a period of 12 months.

If you want protection for a longer period of time, you can apply to the Family Court for a Child Alert Order to issue. A Child Alert Order will be in force, unless rescinded by the Family Court, until your children turn 18 years of age.

What do I do if my children already have passports?

If your children already have valid passports, there are a number of actions you can take to prevent them leaving Australia with your husband. These include:

– Applying to the Family Court for an order that your husband deliver the children’s passports to the Court. The passport will be held by the Court to prevent it being used by your husband to remove your children from Australia.

– Applying to the Family Court for an order that your children be placed on the Airport Watch List, which is operated and managed by the Australian Federal Police. Once your children’s names are on the Airport Watch List, the Federal Police have the power to prevent your husband from removing the children from Australia. The Court will specify in any such order how long your children’s names are to be on the Airport Watch List. For example, their names may be placed on it until any Family Law proceedings relating to the children are finalised.

If you are involved in the breakdown of a relationship and are concerned that your children may be removed from Australia, you need to act quickly and obtain legal advice on what actions you can take to prevent this happening.

To understand the legalities involved and what you need to do, call Frank Boitano at Barwick Boitano  Lawyers today on (02) 9630 0444 or email  on fjb@bblawyers.com for an appointment.

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