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Family Law Watchlist

Both parents should explicitly consent to a child travelling overseas. Without explicit consent, you may find that your child is prevented from leaving Australia.

The Australian Federal Police (‘AFP’) Family Law Watchlist exists to prevent a child from being unilaterally removed from Australia.

To place a child of the AFP’s Watchlist you need to have either filed an Application (or Appeal) seeking an Order to place a child on the Watchlist, or have an order from the Court placing the child on the Watchlist.

Once the Application has been filed, you can alert the AFP by completing a short form, which is available on their website. If the Court has made an order to place the child on the Watchlist, they will inform the AFP directly, but again will ask that you complete the short form.

There are two types of standard Watchlist orders, the first is an absolute prohibition on overseas travel and the second is conditional prohibition of travel. Conditional prohibition allows parents to remove a child from Australia with authenticated written consent (i.e. a signed Statutory Declaration) of both parents.

Once a child is placed on the Watchlist, they can only be removed from the Watchlist by virtue of a further Court Order.

Irrespective of whether your child is on the Watchlist, if there are already Family Law proceedings on foot, it is an offence to unilaterally remove a child from Australia and is punishable by imprisonment of up to three (3) years.

If you are concerned that your child may be unilaterally taken out of Australia without your consent or if your child has been placed on the Watchlist, please contact Richardson Murray for assistance.


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