Home > News > International Travel for separated parents – recent changes to Passports legislation

International Travel for separated parents – recent changes to Passports legislation

Spread the love

By Belinda Spong, Senior Associate, MST Lawyers

As the long summer holidays begin many families are looking forward to embarking on international adventures.  The question of passports for separated parents can be a vexed one and can require forethought by separated parties wanting to take minors overseas.

The Passports Legislation Amendment (Integrity) Act 2015 and Australian Passports Determination 2015 commenced in October 2015. 

Amongst other amendments, the Australian Passports Act 2005 has now helpfully been amended so that the definition of “parental responsibility” more closely aligns with the Family Law Act 1975.  Previously, a person with whom a child was to spend time with pursuant to a court order (even very limited time) was required to consent the child being issued with an Australian passport, even if an order had been made providing for one parent to have sole parental responsibility for the child.  When the consent of such a person was not forthcoming, an application was frequently required to the Family Law Courts, for an order to support the issuing of a passport for the child.  The consent of such a person will no longer be required.

Our family law team can assist in relation to the issuing of passports for children where there may be difficulty obtaining the consent of both parents or other persons who may be required to consent to a passport being issued for a child. 

We strongly recommend all separated parents considering overseas travel with a child, or whose child is to be travelling overseas with another parent (or indeed any other person), first seek legal advice, even if there are no court orders in place or court proceedings pending.

Should you wish to inquire about international travel in a family law matter, or any other family law matter, please contact our Family Law team by email family@mst.com.au or by telephone +61 8540 0200.