Shared custody and permission for overseas trips – 7 questions you must ask

Custody Arrangements What to consider

Many parents look forward to taking their children on holidays and overseas trips to create memories to last a lifetime. But what happens if you are separated or divorced? You may find you have difficulty packing up and taking your children on holiday – especially if the situation with your ex-partner is acrimonious.

At our firm, we regularly receive queries from concerned parents about shared custody arrangements and travel. The situation for each family is different, but many ask the same questions regarding overseas trips.

  1. How do we arrange for custody consent before we take the trip?

Most parents who share parental responsibilities and have a custody arrangement will likely have no issue making holiday arrangements. Most legal provisions require either party giving consent in writing. The travelling parent will need to provide copies of an itinerary, as well as return travel arrangements and contact details.

  1. Does the travelling parent need to get permission from the non-travelling parent to travel with the child/children?

If the non-travelling parent has sole custody, the travelling parent needs to obtain his or her consent before taking the children. Alternatively, the parent who wishes to travel may need to seek a court order if the other parent denies them permission.

  1. What do both parents need if either party decides to take the child/children on holiday?

The non-travelling parent should have a notarised consent form drafted if the travelling parent doesn’t have sole custody. The parent with sole custody should also have a notarised copy of a court order proving their custody of the child/children.

  1. What should the travelling parent do if they wish to take their child/children overseas?

The non-travelling parent should provide a notarised travel consent document to authorise content for the travelling parent if they wish to travel overseas with the child/children. The travelling parent will need to ensure they have all the necessary documentation to take their child/children overseas.

  1. How can both parents reach an agreement about relocating the child/children?

In cases where one parent may want to relocate the child/children, both parties are encouraged to enter an agreement for the child/children to stay with the other parent for more extended periods of time, including holidays. If both parties can reach an agreement, each parent should arrange a written parenting plan or apply for consent orders for the child/children before the relocation happens.

  1. What if both parties cannot reach an agreement about relocation/holidays?

If either party cannot reach an agreement about relocating the child/children, the travelling parent can apply to a court for an order to allow them and the children to move. However, the Court may not immediately grant permission, if at all. The Court generally considers the welfare and best interests of the children.

  1. How can a travelling parent apply for a passport for their child/children?

As long as both parties consent, the travelling parent with parental responsibility can apply for a passport for each child at an authorised Australian Post office or Passport Office.

If you are separated or divorced and considering a holiday with your child but have concerns about how that would affect your custody/shared parenting arrangements, contact Leach Legal today.

We can help you organise arrangements to result in a fabulous holiday for you all!