If you and your partner have separated and will no longer live in the same country, you might have some concerns about how Orders for time (otherwise referred to as access or custody) can be enforced.
Thankfully, if you’ve been granted overseas child custody and access orders, then it may be possible to get these registered in Australia. This is because Australia has arrangements with some countries that allows the court to register orders and make them enforceable in Australia.
Which countries does Australia have arrangements with?
You can find a full list of the countries Australia has arrangements with in Schedule 1A of the Family Law Regulations 1984. This list includes both countries and parts of countries (such as US states) that are declared to be ‘prescribed overseas jurisdictions’ for certain purposes.
If the country that entered your order is not a prescribed overseas jurisdiction, then you may be able to register the order under the Hague Convention. You should seek independent legal advice immediately to understand whether this is possible.
I Have a court order from a prescribed overseas jurisdiction, how do I get it registered in Australia?
If you’re looking to have overseas child custody and access orders registered in Australia, then you must follow the process set out in Regulation 23 of the Family Law Regulations 1984.
Crucially, your court order can only be registered in Australia if the child who is the subject of the Order, a parent of the child or some other person in whose favour the orders was made, is resident in, present in or proceeding to Australia.
To get your order registered in Australia, you’ll need to send a request to the International Family Law Section of the Attorney-General’s Department with three certified copies of the order. You’ll also need a certificate that has been signed by either an officer of a court, or by some other authority in the country in which the order was made.
Alongside this, you’ll also need to provide a statement that the order is (at the date of the certificate), enforceable in the country or jurisdiction it was made in. If your order is no longer enforceable in the country that made it, then it will not be enforceable in Australia.
If you are unable to have your order registered in Australia through the processes listed above, you may need to obtain a new child court order in Australia. For this, you will usually need to obtain consent orders that have been signed by both parties, or apply to the family court for a parenting order.
Effect of registration of overseas child order in Australia
Registration of an overseas child order has two main consequences:
- the Order has the same force and effect as an order made under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 by the court in which it is registered; and
- no court in Australia that is aware that the overseas child order has been registered, is permitted to exercise its jurisdiction in proceedings for an order relating to with whom a child is to live or spend time with (except in very limited circumstances – e.g. both parents consent to the Australian courts having jurisdiction or the welfare of the child is likely to be adversely affected).
Can I get overseas child custody and access orders from Australia registered in other countries?
It’s also possible for you to get Australian court orders registered overseas in a select number of other countries. These countries are also listed in Schedule 1A of the Family Law Regulations 1984.
In order to have your Australian court orders registered overseas, you will need to work with the Registrar of the Australian court.
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