Dramatised Hollywood-style movies and books often feature parents who kidnap their own children. However, child abduction (while rare) is real. If you have a genuine concern that your children may be abducted or taken from Australia without your permission, it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

How can I stop my children from being taken overseas?

If there is a threat that your former spouse may take your children and leave Australia without your permission, you can make an application to the Court for an Order. These Orders can:  Firstly, prevent the issuance of a child’s passport. Secondly, require the child’s passport be brought to the Court. Thirdly, place a child alert order on a child. Or, finally, prevent a child from leaving the country, ie. stop them at the border.  A child alert order informs DFAT that a parent may apply for a passport without legal consent. And will notify you if your former spouse attempts to apply for a passport. These alerts remain in place until the child turns 18, or as instructed by the Court.

Prevention is better than cure

Whilst it is uncommon for abduction to be an issue, prevention is better than the cure for this issue. If you are concerned about this issue but are able to reach an agreement in regard to other parenting matters with your former spouse, we recommend drafting your Consent Orders in such a way which:  Firstly, it restricts taking your children to non-Hague Convention countries. Secondly, prevents your children from obtaining a passport. Or, thirdly,  places your children onto the AFP Watchlist.

What if my child has a foreign passport?

However, someone could still take your children without your permission if they have a foreign passport. If this is relevant to your circumstances, we recommend seeking legal advice and speaking with the foreign embassy of that country.  Concerned that your ex may one of the parents who kidnap their own children? Please contact New South Lawyers Family Lawyers for a consultation.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.