Australians love travelling. In 2018, 11.1 million Australians returned to our shores following a short-term overseas trip. The most popular destination for overseas travel in 2018 was New Zealand with 1.4 million Australians crossing the ditch. This was followed closely by Indonesia and the United States.
However, our love for travel can become more challenging for children whose parents have separated or divorced.
This is especially the case when a child does not hold a current passport.
Before a passport can be issued, the law requires the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for a child. This means that if your children do not have passports, you will need your former partners written consent in order for them to obtain one. Most parents are happy to do this, provided they are given appropriate notice and sufficient details of your travel plans. If this is the case, then there is no problem.
However, you will run into a problem if your former partner refuses to give their written consent to your children obtaining a passport.
In this situation, you will have to make an application to the Federal Circuit Court for an order requiring the other party to sign the passport applications. Alternatively, you could ask the Court to make an order that the other party’s signature is not required for a passport to be issued.
If your application is successful, your children will be able to obtain their passports. However, beware, the process of making an application can take months, from start to finish. This is not a quick process, so do not leave it to the last minute before your trip to make an application. If you do, you run the risk of having to reschedule your trip or missing out on your trip altogether – a costly mistake.
How to avoid this problem
If you are someone who loves to travel, and you are in the process of negotiating a parenting plan or agreement, make sure you include provisions that would enable you to travel overseas with your children.
If you are planning an overseas trip with your children, you should ask your former partner to give their written consent to the children travelling with you before making any plans and paying for your trip.
This way, if their consent is not forthcoming, you will avoid the added cost of having to change your plans, and the possibility of missing out on your trip altogether while you try to negotiate with your former partner.