Moving away

Moving with your child/ren to another town, state or country is known as relocation. If moving is going to limit the time your child/ren live with or spend with a parent or another significant person in their lives, a court may not give permission. If your child/ren primarily lives with you and you need to relocate, you should first try to talk to the other party.

Reaching an agreement about the relocation

You may be able to reach an agreement for the child/ren to stay with the other parent for longer periods of time in school holidays and/or longer visits during the year. Your former partner may be able to move to where you are hoping to relocate.

Attending Dispute resolution may assist you in reaching an agreement about the relocation. Visit the Dispute resolution section for information about dispute resolution services.

If you reach agreement with the other party, it is best to enter into a written parenting plan or apply to the Family Court for consent orders before you move.

For information about these options once you have reached agreement, see the section, If you agree on arrangements.

Attending Dispute resolution may assist you in reaching an agreement about the relocation. Visit the Dispute resolution section for information about dispute resolution services.

If you reach agreement with the other party, it is best to enter into a written parenting plan or apply to the Family Court for consent orders before you move.

For information about these options once you have reached agreement, see the section, If you agree on arrangements.

What if we can't agree about relocation?

If you cannot agree about relocating, you can apply to a court for orders to allow you to move. The Court may not grant permission. The Court will consider the best interests and welfare of the child/ren.

If you move without a court order or without the consent of the other party, 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.

For information about applying to the court see the section If you can’t agree on arrangements.

For information about applying to the court see the section If you can’t agree on arrangements.

Can my child/ren travel overseas?

If you are planning a holiday and plan to travel overseas with your child/ren, you should advise the other parent (and any other person with parental responsibility) of your intention as soon as possible. You should include full details of where you will go, confirm a full itinerary will be provided and include contact numbers for hotels or relatives.

For more information about travelling with your child/ren overseas, see the Children and international travel after family separation fact sheet

For more information about travelling with your child/ren overseas, see the Children and international travel after family separation fact sheet

How do I apply for a passport for my child?

If written consent is provided by all parties with parental responsibility, applications can be lodged at an authorised Australia Post office or any Australian Passport Office.

If written consent is not provided by all parties with parental responsibility, you can make a written request to the Approved Senior Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to consider issuing the passport due to ‘special circumstances’. For more information about requests to consider ‘special circumstances’ contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 13 12 32 or go to www.passports.gov.au

For more information about applying for a child’s passport, see the Children and international travel after family separation fact sheet

For more information about applying for a child’s passport, see the Children and international travel after family separation fact sheet

How can I prevent a child/ren from leaving Australia?

If you are concerned that a child/ren may leave Australia without your permission, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You can apply to the Court for an order that:

  1. prevents a passport being issued for a child by:

  • lodging a Child Alert Request at any Australian Passport Office, or
  • applying to the Court for a child alert order.

For more information about child alerts, contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 13 12 32 or go to www.passports.gov.au.

  1. requires a person to deliver a child’s or accompanying adult’s passport to the Court:

If there is a possibility or threat that a child/ren may be removed from Australia on a current passport, you can apply to the Court for orders. The Court may order the delivery of a child’s or accompanying adult’s passport to the Court. If ordered, the person in possession of the child’s passport must deliver it to the Court. The Court will keep it for the specific amount of time detailed in the court order or until further order of the Court.

  1. prevents a child/ren from leaving Australia.

If there is a possibility or threat that a child/ren may be removed from Australia, the Court can make orders which:

  • restrain the removal of the child from Australia
  • request that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) place the child’s name on the Airport Watch List, and
  • request that the AFP assist in the implementation of the order/s.

What if the Court is not open when I need to make an urgent application?

  • The Court has an out-of-hours service for emergencies: that is, there is a risk that a child may be taken out of the country before the next working day. Call the courts on 1300 352 000 out of business hours and you will be referred to this emergency number.

What if my child/ren relocated and cannot be found or has not returned from overseas?

In Australia

If the court has issued a parenting order and it is breached and you cannot be found, a court may issue a location order. This requires other people or organisations, to give any information they have about where you and the child/ren may be located.

If you breach the parenting order by failing to return the child/ren as required, a court may also make a recovery order.

If you breach the parenting order by failing to return the child/ren as required, a court may also make a recovery order.

Overseas

If your child/ren has been taken from Australia without your consent, or has not been returned to Australia, you should contact the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department for assistance.

Australia has an agreement with some countries to return abducted children to their country of usual residence. This agreement is called the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention).