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My ex-partner and I have Court Orders allowing the child to live with me. I want to move from Sydney to Brisbane to be closer to my parents – can I just move?

Where there are Orders in place and you propose to move you need to seek the other parent’s consent. Talk to them and explain why you want to move. If you can come to an agreement then you should file for (new) Parenting Orders by Consent. If you cannot agree to a new parenting arrangement you will need to file an application with the Family Court.

If you move anyway, you will likely be in breech of the existing orders. The other parent can commence proceedings and the Court may order you and the child to return to Sydney until it determines whether the proposed move is in the Child’s best interests. The Court will consider the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent and the effect of the move on that relationship.

My ex partner and I have Court Orders providing the children live with me and spent regular time with their mother. I have been offered a job in Melbourne. She refuses to let the children move with me- what should I do?

You will need to file an application with the Court seeking orders that the children be allowed to relocate to Melbourne with you. You will need to demonstrate that it is in the childrens’ best interests for them to move with you to Melbourne. In order to make a decision the Court will also consider your ability to find work locally (without) moving and the practicality of the children visiting the other parent. You may need to agree to pay for the children to regularly visit Sydney. In a recent case, his Honour Justice Altobelli allowed a 10 year old child to relocate to Melbourne with her father against the mother’s wishes. He said of his decision it was “the least of the worst alternatives….and that the child was caught in the cross fire of her parents’ conflict”.

I want to take my child for a short holiday overseas, is this ok?

Check your parenting orders: some orders specifically state the child may not travel overseas (or interstate) without the consent of both parents. As a courtesy, you should provide the other parent with an itinerary and allow them to speak to the child while away, if practical. If the holiday infringes on the other parents contact time, agree to make up time. Try to work together and communicate clearly to achieve a “win-win” situation.

If the other parent refuses to agree to the trip, you will need to file an Application seeking an Order allowing the child to travel overseas.

I fear my ex-partner will try to take our child overseas permanently, can I stop this?

Seek legal advice immediately. Remember: prevention is better then a cure. You can alert the Australian Passport office that a passport for the child may be applied for without your consent and they must notify you if they receive an Application. You can also seek orders that your child’s name be placed on an Airport Watch List. This list notifies the Australian Federal Police that the child is subject to Court Orders and must not be allowed to leave the country.

My child has been taken overseas for a holiday but did not return- what should I do?

Some countries are signatories to an international convention that provides for a child to be returned to his or her country of residence and any disputes relating to parenting orders are to be determined in that country. In this case, the Family Court will co-operate with its relevant counterpart overseas to co-ordinate the child being removed from that country and returned to Australia. However, not all countries have signed up to this agreement. If a child is taken to a country that has not signed the convention, it is extremely difficult to have a child returned to Australia.

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