Obtaining an Injunction Against the Relocation of a Child

Obtaining an Injunction Against the Relocation of a Child

An injunction is a court order that requires a party to do something or refrain from doing something. Failing to comply with an injunction can result in criminal or civil penalties, and may even lead to serving an imprisonment sentence.

A parent is entitled to seek an injunction from the Family Court to prevent their child from being taken interstate or overseas by the other parent. It is often the case that evidence will need to be presented to prove to the court that the parent who is taking the child has no plans of returning.

Indicators that a parent is planning to relocate their child

The following could be used as evidence to demonstrate that a parent is planning to permanently take a child interstate or overseas:

  • If one-way tickets have been purchased;
  • If one parent is planning a holiday and travel arrangement details are being withheld from the other parent;
  • If one parent has indicated that they have no plans of returning through their actions, such as selling their house, moving belongings into storage or giving up a lease;
  • If one parent has friends and family at the destination or has previously inquired about jobs; or
  • If one parent is travelling to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Abduction of Children so you will not be able to get them back from that country with the help of the Australian Government.

Requirements for taking a child overseas

In order to be able to take children overseas parents must obtain a valid passport for the children. If the child doesn’t already have a passport, both parents have to agree to obtain a passport for the child. If for whatever reason, either parent is not content for the child to possess a passport, the other parent may apply to the Family Court for an order that a passport be issued despite these wishes.

Court Injunctions

A solicitor can assist with putting forward your best case to the court if there is a real risk the other parent is taking the child interstate or overseas without plans to return. The court has the power to make orders that may include to:

  • Prevent or restrain the parent from taking the child interstate or out of Australia;
  • Require the parent to pay an amount of money to the court as security for the return of the child;
  • Direct the parent to give contact details including where the child will be staying and so on; or
  • Place the child’s name on the airport watch list to prevent the other parent from leaving the country with the child.

For an injunction to take effect, a copy of the order and any other documents you filed at the court must be given to the parent (or persons) involved.

If an injunction is breached by a parent there are a number of things the court can order of the party in breach. These include:

  • Paying a fine;
  • Paying a bond to the Court;
  • They must provide the other parent with make-up time with the child;
  • Ordering them to attend a parenting course;
  • Changing any existing Court orders;
  • or Enforcing a prison sentence.

Further Information

If you would like more information on how we can advise you on Family Law matter, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via our contact form here.