Passports for children after separation

With international travel hopefully not too far away, you and your ex-partner may want to start thinking about making arrangements for future holidays. One of the most important factors to consider is your child’s passport.

It is important that you understand the rights you have after separating from your partner, particularly when your child is involved. Obtaining a passport for your child works differently after you separate. This article will explain the process and your obligations as a parent post separation.

Parental responsibility is described by the Australian Passport Act 2005 as someone who is the child’s parent, lives with the child or has responsibility for the child, and has guardianship or custody of the child.

As outlined in The Australian Passport Act 2005, for a child to be issued with a passport, either the consent of both parents must be obtained or a State, Territory or Federal court has granted permission for the child to travel, live with or spend time with someone outside of Australia.

If you are worried that your ex-partner will attempt to apply for your child’s passport without your consent, you may want to apply for a Child Alert with the Australian Passport Office. A Child Alert requires the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to give special consideration to your child’s passport application. However, it is important to note that a Child Alert does not guarantee that your child will not be able to obtain a passport or travel overseas. You may also wish to seek a court order to prevent the issuing of your child’s passport, to make changes to the handling of your child’s passport if it is already issued, or to prevent your child from travelling overseas entirely.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to apply for your child’s passport and your ex-partner does not consent, there are also steps you can take. You can apply for a court order requiring your ex-partner’s consent for the passport. Your situation may also meet certain circumstances present in The Australian Passport Act 2005.

  • Your ex-partner who is non-consenting is missing, presumed dead or cannot give consent due to being medically incapable;
  • There is a family violence order made against your ex-partner;
  • No contact has been made with your ex-partner for a significant time period;
  • An order has been made under child welfare law that gives parental responsibility to the parent who is consenting rather than the parent who is non-consenting;
  • A family crisis has resulted in urgent need for the child to travel overseas; or
  • The welfare of the child would be drastically impacted if overseas travel was not allowed.

If you do meet any of these circumstances, you and your child may be able to travel overseas without the consent of your ex-partner. However, it is important to remember that court procedures can take time, so you should not book international travel until any issues present with your child’s passport have been fully resolved.

If you are concerned that an issue with your child’s passport may arise after separation, No Lawyers’ Family Law Resources can help you understand your rights and options moving forward.

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