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The legalities of taking your kids on holiday if you're separated

The legalities of taking your kids on holiday if you're separated

Thursday 15th of September 2022
By: Article by Gillian Coote, Principal, Coote Family Lawyers for

I am very lucky to have you as my lawyer.

Can I take my children on an overseas holiday even though we're separated?

For many Australians who have delayed holidays abroad or who wish to reunite with family and friends overseas, the return of international travel is a very welcome change.  But for single parents who are co-parenting, navigating international travel isn't as simple as renewing a passport, booking a flight, and packing a suitcase.  When planning international travel with your child, it is important to know the obligations you have before departing Australia as a co-parent, to avoid any potential legal issues that have serious consequences.

Under the Family Law Act 1975, the main piece of legislation governing family law in Australia, there is a presumption that both parents have "equal shared parental responsibility" for important decisions made on behalf of a child.  This is of course without Court Orders in place, which may remove the presumption of equal parental responsibility, in circumstances where its application would not be in the best interest of the child.

There are many ways to ensure both parents are happy with the travel plans.  It is not uncommon for the non-travelling parent to ask for a travel itinerary.  For peace of mind, you might share with your co-parent your return flights and accommodation plans.

If you have spoken with the non-travelling parent, offered to send them your travel itinerary and offered "make-up time", but they still don't consent to the travel, there are further steps you can take.  If you think the non-travelling parent is being unreasonable with their objections, you may choose to apply for a court order for the international travel to occur without the other parent's consent.

If you do not consult your co-parent and choose to leave Australia with your child without their consent, or while waiting for the Court's decision, the consequences can be serious. 

If you are considering international travel and have not received consent from your co-parent, it is recommended that you contact a family lawyer to discuss your arrangements and options and to find the best way forward for you.  We invite you to call Coote Family Lawyers now on 03 9804 0035 

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