travelling overseas

What You Need To Know About Shared Custody And Travelling Overseas

Travelling overseas is usually a time for excitement for families. But when you’re separated or divorced, it can also be tricky, especially if you don’t have a civil relationship with your ex.

Here are some key things you need to know about travelling overseas with your children when you have shared custody.

Can My Children Travel Overseas Without Me?

The short answer is yes – but if you share parental responsibility with your ex or there are Court Orders in place regarding travel then you need to give permission for your children to travel overseas without you.

If you have sole parental responsibility for your children, you do not need to get permission from your ex to take your children overseas.

Do I Need To Get Permission From My Ex To Take My Children Overseas?

As above, if you share parental responsibility with your ex, then you will need their permission to take your children overseas. 

This should always be in writing and you may be asked to provide their travel information along with an itinerary for their holiday. The written consent should be witnessed.

Can I Apply For A Passport For My Child Without Consent From My Ex?

The law is clear on this – both parents need to give their authority for their child to apply for a passport.

If the other parent will not give consent to apply for a passport, you can seek a court order allowing the child to have an Australian passport.

There are however some allowances for special circumstances. These could be things like the other parent is not contactable despite efforts over time or existing child welfare orders.

You can read more on the Australian passport website regarding passports for children and parental consent.

Can I Relocate Overseas With My Children?

This will depend on the parenting arrangements you have in place.

It is best to speak to your ex and, if needed, a family lawyer who can advise on your personal circumstances.

What If We Can’t Reach An Agreement About Travelling Overseas?

If you’ve tried to reach an agreement with your ex about taking your children overseas either for a family holiday or to relocate and they are not budging, there are some options to consider.

Family dispute resolution can help you come to a mutual agreement through an independent third party.

If family dispute resolution does not help, you could apply for a court order to give you permission to take your children overseas.

What Do I Do If My Ex Takes My Children Overseas Without My Permission?

If your ex has taken your children overseas without your permission, the first thing you need to do is get urgent legal advice. You can contact a reputable family lawyer or call International Social Service Australia. This organisation gives free legal advice and support to parents who have been affected by international child abduction.

About the author

Ian Shann

The principal mediator and director of Move On Mediation in Perth.

Move On offers affordable and effective divorce and family mediation in Perth for separating couples.

Ian’s commitment is simple – to help keep separated couples out of the Family Court and minimise their need for lawyers, saving them time, money and anguish.

Under Ian’s guidance, separated couples are able to Move On with their lives through amicable divorce mediation.

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