Got Permission for the Kids to Holiday Overseas?

Separated or divorced parents with Family Court parenting orders for the children may not realise they can't take the kids overseas without permission.

Cassandra Pullos says with Christmas holidays upon us, if you have any orders in place relating to your children then, unless you have an Order allowing you to take your children overseas, or unless you have the consent of both parents, (that permission needs to be authenticated in writing), then you will be committing an offence if you take your children outside the Commonwealth of Australia.

It’s punishable by a fine and/or a jail term and should be taken seriously. There’s also the embarrassment factor if you are stopped at the airport or cruise terminal if the other parent has placed the child’s name on the Airport Watchlist.

The rules are in place to prevent any parent abducting their children and fleeing overseas with them.

The requirement does not apply to couples who are still together but taking separate holidays. The Family Law Act only requires the formal written consent, in writing and authenticated, where there are Orders in place in relation to a child.

Where it might get complicated would be a scenario of a parenting couple who had split, had parenting Orders made and then reconciled. If the Orders had not been cancelled or modified, then the travelling parent would need the other’s travel consent for the children.

Of course it is nevertheless good practice to make sure the other parent always knows, and consents to, any travel that takes a child outside Australia.

Cassandra says get urgent legal advice if you have any questions and are contemplating overseas travel with your children during these holidays.

It’s worth noting that the Family Court has an emergency service available over the Christmas break, even on public holidays, if orders are required to secure the safety of children – for example to stop them being taken out of the country.

The Court registry will also be open on non public holidays and staffed with skeleton staff to assist people in need. Whilst the full complement of judges won’t be sitting in January there will be Judges available to hear and determine urgent matters.

Our office will be closed from 22 December until 5 January and we have arrangements in place for clients to contact us in the case of emergency over the break.