•  Sponsored Content 

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and international borders re-opening, many families are looking to get back to exploring the world and giving their children the rich experience of international travel. Whilst adventure comes with benefits to a child’s development, separated parents should be mindful of the rules around international travel.

For Australian families travelling to Singapore or Australian families who currently live in Singapore, it is important that separated parents are aware of the need to obtain the other’s parent’s consent.

Shared parental responsibility

Under Australian family law, decisions such as international travel depend on whether the parents share parental responsibility. If you and the other parent share parental responsibility for a child, both parents must consent to the child travelling overseas and must sign the child’s passport application.

Travelling overseas with children

Where parents agree, it is important that the travelling parent:

  1. Check any parenting Orders regarding any conditions imposed for the proposed travel, for example in relation to travel periods or permitted countries.

If parenting Orders exist or if parties are involved in parenting proceedings which have not concluded (even if a parent has just filed Court documents), consent must be obtained for any international travel. Failure to do so could result in a criminal conviction.

  1. Complies with any requirements to provide information and documents to the non-travelling parent, such as any travel itinerary, return airline tickets, telephone numbers and addresses where the child can be contacted overseas.

Where there are no parenting Orders, it is good practice to send to the non-travelling parent such information and obtain their written consent to the proposed travel.

  1. Ensures the child’s passport is valid and if it is not, ensures that both parents sign and consent to the child’s passport application in advance of the travel. Parents should allow at least 6 weeks for a passport application to be considered.
  2. Maintain any communication arrangements between the child and the non-travelling parent. If there are parenting Orders in place, the travelling parent should check the Orders to ensure they continue to comply with any telephone contact arrangements.

What do I do if the other parent does not agree?

If parents cannot reach agreement on the proposed travel, the parent who wishes to travel with the child will need to bring an application to the Court to seek Orders permitting the travel. Parents should exhaust all avenues for reaching agreement including mediation/family dispute resolution before approaching the Court.

If a Court application is required, the parent should carefully consider whether the proposed travel is in the child’s best interests. The Court will only make Orders permitting the travel where it is in the child’s best interests and the parent proposing to travel will need to set out in detail in their Affidavit why the travel is in the child’s best interests.

If you hold concerns that a parent will travel overseas with a child without your permission, you should contact a lawyer urgently.

If you have any questions regarding complying with Orders or international travel, please contact a member of Lander & Rogers’ Family & Relationship Law team.

Monique Robb

Partner, Lander & Rogers


+61 2 8020 7861