What is the Family Law Watchlist?

Published 29 Jun 2017

Parents in Australia may wonder what the Family Law Watchlist is and assume that it isn't relevant to them. However, it's an important tool to be aware of in case you need to secure the safety of your children. Previously known as the Airport Watchlist, this system is designed to regulate the movement of children out of Australia and alert police of unusual activity.

Here is some more information about the watchlist, as well as some suggestions for how to apply with the help of a Parramatta family law solicitor.

Specifics of the Family Law Watchlist

The Family Law Watchlist can be relevant in a number of situations, most of which involve the Court having issued a parenting order that restricts or limits a child's movements overseas. This could potentially occur, for example, in the case of a messy divorce in which one parent wishes to leave the country and take the child with them.

If a child is under the protection of the Family Law Watchlist, it is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison to remove them from the country, according to the AFP. Most of these orders last between two and three years, but each specific case will vary depending on how you fill out the application.

How do I apply?

The first step towards putting your child on the Family Law Watchlist is applying for a parenting order - the AFP states that these can deal with a variety of things, such as:

  • How or when a child may travel;
  • who the child can live with;
  • who the child can spend time with;
  • which parent gets responsibility for the child;
  • who the child can communicate with.

Once you have a parenting order (or the order is being processed), you must fill out the Family Law Watchlist application on the AFP's website, including a 24-hour contact phone number for yourself and a valid email address. After the application has been completed, you must deliver it yourself to the AFP for processing - the Court will not do this for you.

The AFP suggests on the application that individuals consider seeking legal counsel, as the process can be quite complicated. If you are thinking about placing your child on the Family Law watchlist and would like to consult a family lawyer, get in touch with a representative from Malouf Solicitors today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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