To prevent the unauthorized removal of a child from Australia, a party can apply to the court for an order to place the child’s name in the airport watch list.
Children in Australia are not allowed to leave the country without the consent of his parents or those who have parental responsibility over him. In fact, an Australian passport will not be issued for a child without the written consent of each person who has parental responsibility for the child. Sections 65Y and 65Z of the Family Law Act 1975 imposes an obligation on a parent or party not to bring the child subject of parenting proceedings outside of Australia.
The exception is if there is a written consent of all relevant parties or if there is a new court order that allows the travel of the child. The unauthorized removal of a child from Australia, or the attempt thereof, is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years.
Needless to say, there are still cases when a child is brought out of the country without the consent of the other parent or the one who has parental responsibility over the child. This is why there are numerous cases of child abductions before the courts. One way of preventing the unauthorized removal of a child from Australia is to have the child’s name placed on the airport watch list.
An airport watch list is a system wherein the child’s name will be placed on the airport watch list of the Australian Federal Police.
The departing parent or party who makes an attempt in the unauthorized removal of a child from Australia will be stopped at the airport and not allowed to leave. Once a child’s name is placed in the airport watch list it will remain there until ordered removed by the court.
The interested party must apply for a court order to place a child’s name in the airport watch list. The order may be issued by a Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. The order of the court must specifically direct the Australian Federal Police to place the child’s name on the airport watch list. Once an order is issued, the applicant must furnish a copy the soonest possible time to the Australian Federal Police who will then take charge of the enforcement of the order.
The Court will be considering many factors whenever faced with an application to prevent a child from leaving Australia. Pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 which upholds the best interest of a child, the Court will consider whether the travel abroad of a child is in his best interest. If the Court determines that a travel abroad will not be in the child’s best interest plus there is a real risk that the child will not be returned to Australia, the Court will grant an application to restrain the removal of the child and to place the child’s name in the airport watch list.
The parent or interested party must apply to the Court for an order which discharges the previous Order or the specific part of the previous
Order that restrained the removal of the child from Australia and directs the Australian Federal Police to remove the child’s name from the watch list. The name of the child will only be removed from the watch list upon receipt of the new court order by the Australian Federal Police.
The removal of a child from the airport watch list might take some time considering that the process has to go through the courts. So, for parents who do not any more fear that their child will be taken out of Australia can obtain a Discharge Order from the Court as soon as the threat is gone to facilitate easy future travel with the child.