Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: I have a letter of consent from 3 yrs ago allowing me to take my child to Australia. Is this still valid?

It is not clear whether this relates to taking the child to Australia for a holiday, or to permanently relocating to Australia. In either event, I would say that the answer must be "no".

If you wish to take your child abroad you must first obtain the written consent of the other parent (and anyone else with parental responsibility), or failing that the approval of the court. (If you have a residence order in your favour, you may take the child abroad for less than one month, without requiring consent/approval.)

I can't recall any law on the subject (although I would be happy to be told of any), but no matter how it might be worded, my view is that any consent given by one parent can only be valid for a limited time. Certainly, I don't think that it should still be valid after three years. A lot can change in that time, and the other parent may obviously have changed their mind - relying on consent given three years ago runs the risk that a court will say the consent is invalid.

Please note that taking a child abroad without a valid consent from the other parent or the court's approval is a criminal offence.

Taking children abroad, particularly permanently, is a serious issue. This post only takes a very brief look at the subject. If you require further information then you are strongly advised to seek the advice of a specialist family lawyer.

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