Help! How do I stop my ex taking my kids overseas?


It is not unusual for a separated parent to want to take a child overseas for a holiday or to visit family.

In most cases, even though it may feel uncomfortable, or unfair for the parent who is left behind, it should not be a problem.

Both parents should be able to come to an agreement between themselves to allow this to happen.


When it's not just a holiday

There are circumstances where you might legitimately have grave concerns about the other parent taking the children overseas.

Perhaps you have fears about their safety in the country they will be visiting or fear the other parent does not intend to return to Australia with the children.

If you are worried that the children might be taken out of Australia without your permission, you can apply to have the children’s names on the Family Law Airport Watch List.


Applying to stop children from leaving Australia

You will need to apply to the Court to place the children on the Watch List and send a copy of the application, and any Court Orders made, to the Federal Police.

A Family Law Watchlist Kit can be obtained from the Federal Police’s Website.

Click here to go to kit

The role of police in family law matters is primarily to act on orders issued by a Court, and to prevent the unlawful removal of children from Australia.

You can place a child’s name on the Family Law Airport Watch List immediately after you have filed an application at court.

You must then make sure that you immediately provide the  Australian  Federal  Police with copies of any Orders made by the court.


Seeking urgent assistance

If you are concerned that your child is at risk of being removed from Australia, you should seek urgent legal advice by engaging a private lawyer or contacting Legal Aid or a Community Legal Centre that provides this sort of advice.

If you are concerned for the safety or welfare of a child, contact your State or Territory child welfare service, or your local police.

If you have immediate concerns that a child is in danger or at risk of abduction, contact the police in your State or Territory on Triple Zero (000).


Published by:

Christine Weston Divorce Australia

Published by, Christine Weston
Founding Director and Creator of Divorce Resource
Australian Nationally Accredited Mediator and Divorce Coach

This article contains general information only. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Divorce Disclaimer here

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