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I am worried about my partner travelling overseas with our children

I am worried about my partner travelling overseas with our children - what can I do?

Monday 24th of February 2020
By: Ben Mescher, Law Clerk, Coote Family Lawyers

Thank you for your support over the last few months. I really appreciated it that you understood my situation.

If your partner proposes to travel overseas with your children and you are concerned that they will not return to Australia, you may be able to obtain an order from the Court preventing their departure.

Where a Judge finds that it is in the child's best interests, a Family Court Order may restrain a parent from exiting the Commonwealth of Australia with their child.  This is enforced by placing the child on the Airport Watch List. 

This Order will only be made where the Judge believes there is a real risk of the parent failing to return to Australia, which is decided considering several factors:

  1. Whether the parent has continuing ties with Australia.  This includes whether they own any property, run a business or have family in Australia;
  2. Any motives the parent may have not to return to Australia, such as heavy conflict between the parents;
  3. Any motives the parent may have to remain in the destination country, such as property ownership in that country;
  4. Whether the destination country is party to the Hague Convention, which protects against international child abduction; and
  5. Whether, considering the parties' financial circumstances, it is appropriate to require the departing parent pay a deposit to ensure their return.

As with all parenting matters in the Family Court, the Judge will only make an Order aligned with the child's best interests.  Accordingly, they will not make a watch list Order unless they see a real risk of the departing parent refusing to return to Australia.

The laws relating to parenting matters are not always straightforward.  If you would like to discuss a parenting matter, please contact one of our team of top family lawyers on (03) 9804 0035 today.

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