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    Rebekah Dorter

    The Parent’s Guide to Travelling Abroad with Children After Separation 1024 677 Dorter

    The Parent’s Guide to Travelling Abroad with Children After Separation

    Travelling, with its inherent demands of meticulous planning and organisation, is often a complex endeavour.

    Add to this the intricacies of separated parenting, and the complexity multiplies.

    To help you understand the steps you must take as a separated parent taking your child abroad, we have compiled this guide.

    Australian family law and parental rights

    For separated parents taking a child abroad from Australia, it is important to have an understanding of the Family Law Act 1975 (‘the Act’). This Act addresses a wide range of matters, including the concept of parental responsibility, how decisions regarding a child should be made and the rights of the parties involved post-separation.

    Seeking consent for travelling with children after separation

    In the majority of cases, a separated parent must obtain consent from the other parent before travelling with children overseas, after separation.  Written consent is highly recommended as it offers clarity but in some countries is also essential.

    But what happens when one parent withholds consent? Mediation provides a neutral platform for both parents to address their concerns. If at mediation you do not reach an agreement, a court order can be obtained.

    Travelling without the other parent’s consent, especially if in violation of an existing valid court order that outline the terms of a child’s travel, can result in significant legal consequences, sometimes even being categorised as international child abduction under Australian law. Hence, consent is crucial for separated parents contemplating overseas journeys with their children.

    Consequences of travelling without consent

    Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention, which seeks to prevent child abduction across international borders.

    If your child has been taken to another country without your consent, the Hague Convention provides mechanisms for the child’s return, provided the country is a party to the Convention.

    If you travel without the other parent’s consent, this could result in criminal charges or even a variation to your parenting arrangements

    If you are unsure about your rights to travel with your children, you can contact us at Dorter Family Lawyers and Mediators.  We can provide you with expert family law advice.

    Can I prevent unauthorised overseas travel for my child?

    Family law Watchlist

    This system, operated in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police, can be used to prevent a child from leaving Australia. By placing a child on this Watchlist, alerts are generated if there is an attempt to take the child out of Australia. To place a child on the Watchlist, you should apply to the Court seeking urgent orders.

    Court orders

    Court orders can restrict or define the terms of overseas travel for a child. Such orders can specify conditions of travel, duration, destination, or the need for mutual parental consent before travel.

    If you require assistance about travel orders for your children, please contact us at Dorter Family Lawyers and Mediators.

    Passport restrictions

    Another preventive measure involves holding the child’s passport. If a child does not have a passport, the concerned parent can request the Australian Passport Office not issue one without their written consent. If the child already possesses a passport, a court order might be necessary to prevent its use for unauthorised travel.

    Seek expert family law advice today

    If you require clarity on a child passport application or overseas travel for a child after separation, we are here to help. At Dorter Family Lawyers and Mediators, we provide clarity to help you understand your obligations as a parent – whether you are wishing to travel with your child or you are concerned about your child travelling overseas with their other parent.

    How is a Business Divided in a Divorce? 1024 631 Dorter

    How is a Business Divided in a Divorce?

    When a couple divorces or separates, a property settlement, also known as the division of assets, is almost always necessary.

    In some cases, this process will involve assets like a home, cars, money, and superannuation and in other cases, it may involve complex and highly valuable assets, such as a business.

    In this article, we’re going to discuss how a property settlement involving a business should be handled, including the various steps that should be taken.

    Property Settlements and Businesses

    The breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship can have a significant impact on a business. Whether both parties to the relationship own the business or it is owned by one party only, the future of the business could be impacted as the business is considered part of the marital property pool.

    It’s important to be aware that the breakdown of a relationship where a business is involved could impact not only the couple, but also any other owners of the business, as well as anyone else with an interest in the business.

    What happens to the business when a couple breaks up?

    As we touched on above, it doesn’t matter whether the business is owned by one party or both parties to the relationship – in most situations, it is considered to be an asset that could be divided in the property settlement.

    The way assets, property and liabilities are divided in a property settlement involves a 4-step process. These steps are:

    1. Identify all assets and liabilities – during this step the value of the business will need to be identified.
    2. Step 2: Identify the contributions of all parties – contributions can be financial and non-financial, as well as direct and indirect. Even if one party never worked in the business, their contributions to the relationship could make them entitled to a percentage of the business.
    3. Step 3: Work out the future needs of each party – factors such as parenting, health and age can impact the future needs of each party.
    4. Step 4: Review the agreement – the property settlement agreement must be just and equitable.

    Identifying the assets in step one is particularly important and it also involves valuing them too. In the case of valuing a business, this can be complex as many factors determine the value of a business. This can also be an area of contention for separating couples, so it is highly recommended that a professional business valuation expert is engaged to avoid disputes arising.

    The aim of these steps is to work out the percentage of the overall property pool that each party is entitled to.

    Who actually gets the business in a property settlement?

    The way assets are split can be complex and will differ from situation to situation. When it comes to a business, there are many different outcomes that could occur.

    One potential option is that the one former spouse buys out the other spouse’s interest in the business. Another option is that the business is split, with each party receiving part of the business. Selling the business to third party and splitting the proceeds in the property settlement is another option. If there is agreement, there are certain circumstances where former spouses could continue to own and operate the business as is.

    The right option is dependent on the unique factors of your situation and the type of business operated. In some cases, the former spouses may have an amicable relationship where their split hasn’t interrupted the business operations, while in other cases, there has been a significant loss of trust and it’s not possible to come to an agreement.

    It’s best to seek legal advice before making a decision regarding a business in a property settlement as there can be long-term consequences of these decisions that could be overlooked.

    What if the former spouses cannot reach an agreement for their property settlement?

    The family law system in Australia has been designed to allow people to reach agreements together or to use other resources to avoid having to go through Court proceedings. However, while the system allows for this, it’s not always possible to come to agreements, and in matters that involve complex property and assets, like a business, Court intervention may be necessary.

    In this scenario, the parties apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for a property division. The Court will use the same 4-step process we outlined earlier to determine an appropriate split of assets and liabilities, including the business. It’s important to note that the Court may require that an independent valuation of the business takes place where the parties cannot agree on the value.

    As a property settlement is meant to be a way to finalise the financial relationship or sever the financial ties of the former spouses, the Court will be likely to make a decision where one person may receive the business while the other receives other assets that equate to their share of the assets and property, or if this is not possible, the Court may order that the business is to be sold. The aim will be to not only finalise the financial relationship but also to ensure that the property settlement is just and equitable.

    Can you protect a business?

    Protecting a business from being impacted by a relationship breakdown is possible, however, it is highly recommended that a lawyer is engaged.

    Whether you’re considering marriage or in a relationship and own a business, or you’re considering starting a business while in a relationship or marriage, there are various options available to you. A binding financial agreement that outlines how assets are managed in the event of a relationship breakdown is one of these options.

    As many unique factors are at play with relationships and businesses, we highly recommend seeking legal advice if you wish to protect your business or any other asset.

    Talk to our property settlement family lawyers

    If you’ve separated and are having difficulties in determining a property settlement agreement or you’re wanting to protect your assets, talk to our property settlement family lawyers today.

    Our experienced legal team is here to offer advice, guidance and representation for all types of family law matters, including complex property settlements.

    Call us today on 02 9100 0437 or book a no obligation consultation here.