Travelling Overseas With Your Children After Divorce – What you need to know

Travelling Overseas With Your Children After Divorce – What you need to know - Resolve Conflict Family LawyersWith the summer holidays fast approaching it is a opportune time for separated and divorced parents to take note and double-check a few things before making any overseas holiday plans.

Written Consent

As the old adage goes “treat others as you would want to be treated”, this ‘Golden Rule’ is particularly apt for separated and divorced parents. At a bare minimum it is highly advised that you consult your co-parent about your overseas travel plans with your children, including details of where, when and how – regardless of their legal entitlement.

Written consent is highly worthwhile, not only for your own legal protection, but also to ensure you don’t encounter any difficulties departing Australia or at your holiday destination with Immigration.

Parenting Order

If there are pending proceedings or a parenting order in place that doesn’t specifically outline the conditions for overseas travel, you will unequivocally need to obtain written consent from you co-parent. It is a criminal offence (with a penalty of imprisonment up to 3 years if charged with committing this offence) under the Family Law Act to take your children overseas without the other parents’ consent.

Related Article: Parenting Plan vs Parenting Order: What you need to know


Naturally, anyone traveling overseas will need a valid passport. If you’re child does not have a passport both parties that have parental responsibilities will have to give consent to be able to apply for a new or renewed passport for a child.

If your co-parent refuses, seeking Family Dispute Resolution may offer a pathway to help work things out. Failing that, you must are able to file an application with the Family Court for an order that waives the signature requirement or directs the other parent to sign. However, this process must be started well in advance to your travel dates.

Additional Documentation

When departing Australia just with the child’s passport and the appropriate visa for your destination is needed, however many foreign countries require additional specific documentation to be carried. You should check the entry requirements for children before travelling by contacting the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you plan to visit.

DFAT states that in addition to a valid passport and the appropriate entry visa, the sorts of documents required for a child to enter, travel in or depart another country may include, but not limited to:

  • Documentary evidence or a letter that proved the child has the permission of an absent lawful parent or guardian to travel.
  • A copy of any separation, divorce or custody decree that proves that you have custody of the child.
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.


Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email


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