Separated parents need to know certain things required by law that you need to be aware of when you plan to travel with your children overseas. Consent and issuance of passports are some of the more important considerations.
In some cases, federal police can intervene and prevent the child from travelling.
If one parent wishes to bring a child with him abroad, he has to obtain the consent of the other parent. In case the other parent refuses to consent, the other may apply for a consent order before the court. The main consideration in granting the order is the child’s best interest.
Sometimes though, the court may require the parent to furnish a monetary bond in cases where there are good chances that the child will not be returned to Australia. In fact the non-consenting parent may apply before the court to compel the travelling parent to file a bond. The bond ensures that the other parent can easily take the child (and his or her passport) back to Australia. The bond amount will be returned by the court after the child is safely taken back to Australia.
The passport of a child is issued only when both parents consented to the application. However, when one refuses, the other parent who wishes to travel with the child may obtain a court order to compel issuance of the passport even without the other’s consent. He or she needs to apply either before the Family Courts or Federal Circuit Courts.
If there is a risk that the child may be taken outside Australia by the other parent without a passport or court order, the non-approving parent can make a Child Alert Request to alert him or her if ever a passport application is made in the child’s name. An alert request can be made through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is valid for 12 months from the time of issuance.
Child Alert Request can be made if the child is not yet issued a passport. In cases where the child has already been issued one but the other parent did not consent to it, he or she may request the Australian Federal Police to alert him if the child is detected in any departure points or airports in Australia. The child’s name may be included in a departure watch list and be notified once the child’s name appears in any airport. This PACE alert, however, can only be requested with the necessary court order from the Family or Magistrates Court.
Once the child leaves Australia, Australian courts and police have no jurisdiction over him and the travelling parent. The appropriate remedy is to solicit the assistance of the Embassy to prevent the child from being issued a foreign passport or prevent the child from leaving another country.