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The Benefits of Travel for Children


As the world becomes more connected and travel becomes cheaper, it is inevitable that parties will wish to take children overseas or interstate following the breakdown of their relationship.

Whilst this all sounds beneficial to the children; they will get to spend time with their extended family, spend significant quality one on one time with one parent, and travel the world, travelling with children following the breakdown of a relationship is not always a simple process, and one where the Court is likely to act conservatively to protect the safety of children’s return.

There may be concerns that a parent will not return the children to the usual arrangements, or may retain the children indefinitely, or that one parent is not able to cope with spending extended periods of time away with the children. Additionally, there may also be concerns about whom the children may be travelling with.

There are ways of dealing with some of the above concerns, such as:

  • Placing the children on the Airport Watchlist – to avoid a parent travelling overseas with a child;
  • Permitting travel to countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention and recognise Australian Court Orders;
  • Providing for agreement or consent from the other party prior to travel;
  • Orders that provide a mechanism of notifying of intended travel;
  • Travel occurring during a parent’s usual time with the children;
  • Exchange of travel itineraries including return flight tickets, list of all places where the children will be staying during the travel;
  • Providing for make-up time in the event travel impinges on one parent’s time with the children;
  • Providing telephone contact numbers for the other parent to contact the children whilst away; and
  • List of all persons travelling with the children.

Overseas travel and interstate travel in Australia will generally be considered beneficial to children, as long as appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety of children whilst travelling and ensure their safe return.

An important consideration is also whether or not travel should be permitted if it is proposed children should take time out of school, especially if time is not connected to school holidays. Recently, Australian Natalie Tuck, her partner and their eight year old son recently went on an eight week adventure around Australia, as reported by news.com.au. As a result their son was required to miss a significant portion of the school term. Whilst Ms Tuck was nervous about having him miss so much school, she has reflected on her travel upon her return and considers that her son has learnt so much during their time away, as well as her learning so much from and about her son. Some of her comments include, “Travel teaches kids that the world is expansive and exciting. It doesn’t just revolve around them and their town, suburb or city.” Further, “They [children] draw comparisons to their own sense of place and identity when exploring new places and meeting new people.” Whilst this example is of an in-tact family, the benefits of travel are no different.

Travel will generally be considered beneficial to children if a Court is asked to consider this discrete issue, however it will be considered on a case by case basis.

If you require specific advice regarding travelling with your children after the breakdown of your relationship, contact one of our family law solicitors today.

Image Credit – Hongqi Zhang © 123RF.com

Written by Natasha Heathcote on November 17, 2017

Natasha has a strong passion for family law, and believes that the law can be used to achieve positive resolutions for her clients. When working with clients, Natasha shows compassion and first seeks to understand what is important to her clients, then looks for legal solutions that will best suit them. View Natasha's profile


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