Australia is regarded as the nation of travellers, considering the large numbers of residents who have family ties abroad.
Despite this interesting fact, taking children overseas has become one of the common issues that arise between separated parents. Normally, some parents would argue that their children might at risk of abduction.
If both parents cannot agree on whether or not the child can go overseas, the court will have to exercise its jurisdiction over the family matter and decide with the presumption that it is in the best interest of the child.
Where there is no fear of international child abduction, the decision can be a lot easier. Thus, in an instant where the father invited the son to join his second wedding and the mother agreed to the visit, the court may immediately give permission to go. To some extent, the benefit of father-and-son relationship outweighs the risks of abduction. However, if the mother argues that the wedding in other place is a significant risk of the child not being returned, the court can render a decision in favour of the mother.
A risk of abduction may be established if there has been a prior threat or actual abduction; when the other party who is charged with the custody of the child believes that there has been family violence and the family members support such concerns; when parent is paranoid or delusional; or when a parent is severely sociopathic.
Cases involving international child abduction are accordingly dealt under the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is an international agreement made by signatory countries to ensure the protection and return of a child who is taken by one parent overseas. When a child is abducted, the Hague convention sets out the rules and procedures for the return of the child. Under Hague Convention, if the child taken to a signatory country is not returned to Australia, the overseas court will order for the return of the child and will make a decision about the changes to the parenting arrangements.
Not all countries are signatories to the Hague Convention, particularly in Asia or the Middle East. When courts decide whether or not the child can go on an overseas trip or visit, the court highly considers the Hague status of the destination as it can be relevant to the outcome.
If your partner is currently planning to take your child on an overseas visit or vacation and you fear that there is a risk of child abduction, you may contact one our expert family lawyers to ask for a timely legal advice.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.