Is it okay to let your for­mer spouse trav­el over­seas with the children?

The short answer is no. Once a par­ent has left the juris­dic­tion of Aus­tralia with the chil­dren, the chil­dren may become the cen­tre of an inter­na­tion­al child abduc­tion and nev­er be returned to Aus­tralia. Inter­na­tion­al child abduc­tion is a par­en­t’s worst night­mare and caus­es severe psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma to the chil­dren and the left behind parent.

If there are no cur­rent court pro­ceed­ings or court orders pre­clud­ing your for­mer spouse from tak­ing the chil­dren over­seas, it is against the law- but not a crim­i­nal offence, for them to take the chil­dren over­seas with­out your per­mis­sion. Once the chil­dren are over­seas you may be unable to secure the safe return of the chil­dren back to Australia.

If a for­mer spouse wants to take the chil­dren over­seas, whether it be for an appar­ent­ly inno­cent rea­son such as an over­seas hol­i­day, or to vis­it rel­a­tives, you should seek imme­di­ate legal advice. There are pro­tec­tive mea­sures that can be put in place such as plac­ing the chil­dren’s names on the Aus­tralian Fed­er­al Police Fam­i­ly Law Watch­list. This will pre­vent the chil­dren from leav­ing Aus­tralia until prop­er arrange­ments are in place to ensure the chil­dren are returned to Aus­tralia at the end of the hol­i­day or visit.

If you have any con­cerns regard­ing your for­mer spouse tak­ing the chil­dren over­seas, obtain legal advice now before it’s too late.