Growing numbers of Australians have "international"
ties, either through dual citizenship or family members living
overseas. With these ties, there is an increasing risk that
following separation, one parent will relocate overseas with the
children of the relationship. Recent examples include the case of
the "Italian children" where a father sought to have his
three daughters returned to him in Italy, and the more recent case
involving the 60 Minutes news team travelling to Lebanon to recover
children removed from Australia. These cases have dominated
headlines, and more and more parents are taking steps to ensure
that their children can't be removed from Australia
Parents can make a Child Alert Request with the Australian
Passport Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The
Alert warns the Department that there may be circumstances that
need to be considered before issuing a passport to your child. The
be completed online but must also be printed and submitted to
the Australian Passport Office in a hard copy format with your
A Child Alert doesn't prevent your child from travelling if
they already hold an Australian passport or a travel document
issued by another country. You will need to contact the Embassy,
High Commission or Consulate in Australia of that particular
country to find out if you can apply to stop a foreign passport
being issued for your child. Contact details for foreign government
representatives in Australia can be found online.
If your child has a valid Australian passport, you may need to
place their name on the Australian Federal Police Airport Watch
List, which prevents a child whose parents are involved in Family
Law proceedings from being removed from Australia without the
To place your child's name on the List you need to make an
Application to the Family Court of Australia or Federal Circuit
Court of Australia. The child's name will be registered with
the Australian Federal Police at all international departure
points, and if a parent attempts to take the child out of the
country, the child will be stopped at the airport and prevented
from leaving. For more information about this see our blog
When a wing and prayer won't cut it - Travelling overseas with
If you have concerns about your child being removed from
Australia you should contact our Family Law team for further
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
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