When children are removed from Australia without the consent of one parent

Jan 10, 2022

When children are removed from Australia without one parents consent.

It’s not an overly regular occurrence, but there are times when one parent takes their children overseas without the other parent’s consent – or perhaps with their consent to holiday – but then the children remain overseas with the parent who took them.  In the laws eyes these children have now been abducted!

So, what does this mean from a legal perspective? Well there’s a convention called the Hague Convention which provides a lawful means of returning abducted children from overseas countries and returning them to their “habitual place of residence”. A parent can go to Court in Australia and get an Order that the children are to be returned from the overseas country. The Court Order can then be enforced overseas by registration in a foreign Court in the country where the children are located. If the foreign country is a signatory to the Convention, then the Court in that country will enforce the Australian Order.

Unfortunately, some countries are not a signatory to the Convention.  In that instance it is far more difficult to get any order for recovery of the children to Australia enforced by the Court of that non-Hague Convention country.

What can you do if the other parent is planning to take children overseas without your consent, especially if it is to a country which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention?

  • Act quickly, go see a lawyer and get advice as a matter of urgency.
  • You should submit a “Child Alert Request Form” to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which prevents the other parent from applying for a passport for the children without your consent.
  • A lawyer can help you get an Order which requires the other parent to deliver the children’s passports to you if they already have one.
  • A lawyer can help you get a “Watch Order” which is a Court Order enabling the Australian Federal Police to act to prevent the children leaving from any seaport or airport in Australia and going overseas.

If there’s a parenting order in force, the other parent is committing a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment, for taking the children overseas without your consent.

It is important to know your rights and the help available if you ever find yourself in this situation.

Northside Lawyers can help with advice and with obtaining the Family Court of Australia Order.  Call us today for a free first interview to discuss your situation.


CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.