• McKenzie Friend Australia

Travelling Overseas with your kids? Cross your T's and I's or else you may be committing a crime

Travelling overseas with children can be a rewarding experience for the whole family. If you're travelling with children, or your children are travelling without both parents, there's more you need to know.

Before you leave Australia with your children, make sure you get consent to do so from any person or institution that has parental responsibility for the children. Or get a court order permitting their travel. If you don’t do this you may be committing a crime like kidnapping or abduction.

If there are parenting orders in place or court proceedings pending, to ensure an enjoyable and incident free trip, I suggest you obtain advice before travelling with your children.

Important issues to consider before stepping on that plane, boat or train with children who live between two households, include:


  • Do the children have current passports?

  • Does the validity of the passport extend sufficiently for the requirements of the countries to which you are travelling?

  • Do you have access to the passports?

Parenting orders or court proceedings

  • Are there parenting orders relating to the children; made in Australia or overseas?

  • Are there court proceedings on foot in Australia or elsewhere?

  • If there are parenting orders in place or court proceedings pending, is the travel in accordance with any court order or with the consent of the other parent?

  • If not, have a look at Sections 65Y and 65Z of the Family Law Act. These provisions impose a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years for a parent (or a party or a person acting on behalf or at the request of a parent/party) to remove a child from Australia, without a court order or the authenticated consent of the other parent (or any other person who benefits from the orders or is a party to pending parenting proceedings);

Some countries do not recognise Australian parenting orders. Many countries have reciprocal arrangements with Australia. In these countries, parenting orders are recognised by both countries.

Travelling overseas with a child contrary to a court order may also constitute a contempt of court

Family Law Watchlist (Airport Watch List)

This system is designed to alert police to the movement of children where children are involved in family law matters.

  • Are your children named on the Family Law Watchlist (Airport Watch List) , such that they will be stopped at the airport from leaving Australia?

  • Is the listing of the children on the Family law Watchlist conditional (eg. permitting travel with authenticated consent from the other parent) or absolute?

  • If you are unsure if your child is currently on the Family Law Watchlist, we can assist you to enquire with the Australian Federal Police.

Authenticated consent

  • Where authenticated consent is required, regulation 13 of the Family Law Regulations provides how the written consent is to be authenticated, pursuant to the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.

Contact McKenzie Friend for a range of DIY templates covering all the necessary requests to your former spouse for obtaining consent through to Interim and Final Parenting orders covering off passport needs.

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