Tips and tricks for ensuring your children return home safely.

The recent abduction of children to Lebanon featured in Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes’ program has raised some valid concerns amongst parents regarding whether you should allow your children to travel overseas with your ex-partner.

When faced with such proposal from your ex, you may be thinking – what if he/she keeps the children and does not return to Australia? How will I ever get my children back?

Overseas travel can be an amazing opportunity for your children, however, can be quite terrifying for the parent remaining at home. If you are considering allowing your children to travel overseas with your ex, here are 4 tips to help ensure their safe return:

  1. Have Family Law Orders in place
    Parents who have Orders of the Court in place in respect of overseas travel can apply to the Court to have these Orders enforced should the travelling parent not return as agreed.
  2. Only allow your children to travel to Hague Convention Countries
    The Hague Convention is an international treaty signed by numerous countries worldwide that provides avenues for a parent to recover a child if the travelling parent takes the child without consent or does not return to Australia as agreed. If you allow your child to travel to a non Hague Convention country, you do not have access to those avenues provided by the treaty. Please see the Attorney-General’s Department for a full list of Hague Convention countries.
  3. Have your ex-partner sign an undertaking and/or provide a bond
    An undertaking of this nature is a written promise to return the children to Australia by a certain date. You can also request the travelling parent to provide you with a bond (i.e. a large sum of money) that is returnable when the children arrive safely home in Australia.
  4. Consider the risks associated with the travel
    Is your ex a citizen of another country? Do they have family in that country? Have they ever expressed a desire to live in another country? Is it a country covered by the Hague Convention? The answers to these questions may determine whether you proceed with the other options listed here to provide peace of mind.

It’s not all bad news. Some parents simply trust the other and know that they will return with the children. Your approach will really depend on your particular circumstances.

Seeing a family lawyer to advise you in relation to your specific circumstances may be the
best approach. It may give you peace of mind when allowing your children to travel overseas with your ex-partner.