Even after a divorce, the law often recognises both parents as having equal responsibility for the children. A violation of these rights is when one parent takes the children abroad without the consent of the other parent or permission of the court.
International parental abduction is a delicate matter, and because the stakes are too high, you should seek the help of family law solicitors. If you think that your children are at risk of parental abduction, here is a rundown of some insights from family law solicitors on how to deal with the matter.
1. Get the Children's Travel Documents
If you are able to get ahold of your children's official documents, including their travel documents, it is helpful. This is easy to do if these documents are in a safe storage unit to which you still have access. If not, figure out how to go about obtaining these documents without violating any outstanding court orders or breaking the law.
2. Submit a Child Alert Request
If your children do not have passports, you can prevent issuing of the same by submitting a Child Alert Request with the Foreign Affairs Department. This request will alert the relevant authorities to the fact that there are special circumstances that need looking into before they issue the passports.
As a parent, you can submit the request yourself, in person or online, with the Australian Passport Office. Your family law solicitors may also help you to do so.
3. Obtain a Court Order
In compliance with an order from the court, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have the authority to put your children's names on a watchlist known as the Family Law Watchlist. If your child's name is on this list, it means that they cannot be removed from the country without explicit consent from the court. It is a system that was designed especially for such cases where the parents are involved in proceedings of the family court. The watchlist is accessible at all international departure points across Australia.
Family law solicitors are best-placed to help you with applying for this court order. An experienced solicitor will provide you with effective representation in demonstrating why you think there is a risk of parental abduction.
Do not take chances. If you suspect that your children may be at risk of parental abduction, engage the services of family law solicitors as soon as possible.
To learn more about family law, contact a lawyer.