Generally, when applying for your child’s passport consent must be given by both parents and any other person who has parental responsibility for that child. Parental responsibility is an ongoing obligation each parent has to their child until the age of 18 and can only be removed by a court order.
...parental responsibility is all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children’
The court also has the power to order a person other than a parent of the child to have parental responsibility. Under the Family Law Act parental responsibility is defined as being ‘all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children’.
If you have a court order from either the Federal Circuit Court of Family Court granting you sole parental responsibility for the child then you are the only person who needs to consent to the passport application.
However, if you do have to obtain consent from another person with parental responsibility, we understand that this process can sometimes be difficult. In special circumstances you can make an application to the Australian Passport Office for a child’s passport to be granted without the consent of the other required person.
Under the Australian Passports Act 2005 special circumstances can include circumstances where:
- you have been unable to contact the non-consenting person for a reasonable period of time;
- there is a family violence order against that person;
- there is a welfare order in place regarding the child;
- the child needs to travel urgently for a family crisis.
If you are having difficulty obtaining consent to apply for a passport for your child we suggest you contact one of our Family Law specialists to discuss the matter further. At Andersons we are able to assist you with this application process and lodge that application with the Australian Passport Office for you.
It is important to know that even if you file an application for special circumstances there is no guarantee that it will be successful. The person assessing the application has the discretion to refuse the application. They can reject the application on the basis that they are not satisfied that there are special circumstances or they believe that the matter should be dealt with by a court. If the application is refused, the application fee paid may not be refunded.
If there are no special circumstances then either consent will need to be obtained from the required person or an application to the Family Court will need to be made.
The Family Law team at Andersons has experience with these types of matters and can assist you with attempting to negotiate with the other party to try to obtain their consent or with making an application to the Family Court for an Order for the child to be issued with an Australian Passport.