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Can I relocate without the other parent’s consent?
If you move without the consent of the other parent or an order of the Family Court, a court may require you to return with the child/ren until the case has reached an outcome.
If there is a court order in place, you will be breaking the order and the other parent can apply to enforce the current order.
How are applications for relocation determined?
In reaching a decision where one party proposes to relocate with a child or children of the relationship the Court will adopt the following approach:
- the court cannot proceed to determine the issues in a way that separates the issue of relocation from that of residence and the best interests of the child;
- compelling reasons for, or indeed against, the relocation need not be shown;
- the best interests of the child are to be evaluated taking into account considerations including the legitimate interests of both the residence and non-residence parent;
- neither the applicant nor respondent bears an onus;
- treating the welfare or best interests of the child as the paramount consideration does not oblige a court to ignore the legitimate interests and desires of the parents. If there is a conflict between these considerations, priority must be accorded to the child’s welfare and rights; and
- if a parent seeks to change arrangements affecting the residence of, or contact with the child, he or she must demonstrate that the proposed new arrangement, even if that new arrangement involves a move overseas, is in the best interests of the child.
A recovery order is an order of the Court that can require a child be returned to a:
- parent of the child;
- person who has a parenting order that states the child lives with, spends time with or communicates with that person, or
- person who has parental responsibility for the child.
The Court does not physically recover your child. If the Court makes an order authorising or directing another person or persons to find, recover and deliver your child, you must give a copy of the order to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to enforce.
Recovery orders result in police physically locating and recovering a child or children. They are incredibly traumatic for children and are always used as an option of last resort.
How to prevent your child being taken overseas without your consent
If you are concerned that your child may be taken out of the country, you can:
- prevent a passport being issued for a child by lodging a Child Alert Request at any Australian Passport Office;
- apply to the Family Court for a child alert order. A court ordered child alert stays in force until a child turns 18, or as directed by the Court;
- apply to the Family Court for an order requiring a person to deliver a child’s or accompanying adult’s passport to the Court; or
- apply for an order preventing a child from leaving Australia. This can include a request that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) place the child’s name on the Airport Watch List. The child’s name will stay on the Airport Watch List until a further order of the Court.
Once again, any delay in dealing with the situations described above may prejudice any future application you wish to make.
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