The recent television incident where Channel 9 were doing a story on children taken to a foreign country has highlighted the problem of parents taking their children away from the other parent. An ex British Policeman sought to abduct the children from Lebanon to return them to their mother in Australia. The Australian authorities could not intervene when the children were taken from Australia as Lebanon is not listed on the Hague Convention list.
The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty in force between Australia and a number of other countries. It provides a lawful procedure for seeking the return of abducted children to their home country. It also provides assistance to parents to obtain contact or access to children overseas. Countries have to agree to be a party to the convention where they agree to assist in returning the children to the rightful country of residence. This was the case a few years ago with the 4 Italian girls whose mother had taken them from Italy to Australia. The Australian Courts found that they had committed to the treaty and therefore the children were returned to their father in Italy. If a country has not agreed to be part of this then the Australian Authorities have little or no say in where the children live.
It is interesting to note that the following countries are NOT a party to the convention:
Indonesia (includes Bali)
United Arab Emirates
Remember a passport application requires the signature of both parents and there are legal avenues and safeguards to prevent your children from leaving the country to ensure their return.
Should the other parent of your children be planning a visit to a foreign country with the children, check the following website to ensure that the country is on the list of parties to the convention.
You will need to seek legal advice to ensure the return of your children should the other parent plan a trip to these countries.
If you need Legal Advice in relation to your Family Law situation, Call Ruth Single on 03 4324 7699 for an initial chat on the phone. Ruth is currently offering initial consultations at a reduced rate.