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Should Separated Parents Share Travelling? 7 Things to Know

should separated parents share travelling | Justice Family Lawyers

The decision for separated parents to share travel largely depends on the specifics of each family’s situation, including the terms of any parenting orders or agreements in place, as well as the laws and guidelines established by Australian family law. Here’s a detailed look at what separated parents in Australia should consider regarding travel with their children:

Travelling Within Australia

Parents typically have more flexibility if travel plans are within Australia and do not involve leaving the country. Unless specifically addressed in Family Court Orders, there are generally no restrictions on travelling with children within Australia when they are in your care. However, it’s considered good co-parenting practice to inform the other parent of your travel plans​.

Travelling Overseas with Children

To travel overseas with your child, formal written consent from the other parent or a Family Court Order permitting departure from Australia with the children is required. Travelling without either could result in criminal charges under the Family Law Act (1975)​​​​.

If there are existing Family Court Orders, the travelling parent must comply with any conditions imposed, such as providing a detailed itinerary and maintaining communication arrangements between the child and the non-travelling parent. In the absence of specific travel provisions in the orders, written consent from the non-travelling parent is required.

When Parents Cannot Agree

If parents cannot agree on travel, the parent wishing to travel with the child must apply to the court for orders permitting the travel. The court will consider the child’s best interests in its decision-making process.

Also read: Hague Convention Child Abduction Australia

Child Custody Vacation Time

How child custody vacation time works depends on the specific terms of the custody agreement. However, some general guidelines are typically followed.

#1) Vacation Schedules

Most custody agreements will include a specific schedule for vacation time. This schedule may allocate a certain number of weeks or days of vacation time to each parent or divide the time into smaller increments, such as one-week or two-week blocks.

#2) Notice Requirements

The custody agreement will typically also specify how much notice each parent must give the other parent before taking a vacation. This notice requirement is important to ensure that the other parent has time to make childcare arrangements.

#3) Communication

Parents need to communicate with each other about their vacation plans. This includes sharing information about the vacation dates, the destination, and other relevant details.

#4) Flexibility

Sometimes, parents may need to be flexible with their vacation plans. For example, if one parent has a work commitment that cannot be rescheduled, the other parent may need to adjust their vacation plans accordingly.

Also read: What is the Rice v Asplund Test in Family Law?

Child Custody Holiday Schedule Submission 

Whether or not you need to submit a child custody holiday schedule in Australia depends on whether you have a court-ordered parenting plan in place. You must not submit a holiday schedule if you do not have a court-ordered parenting plan. 

Your holiday schedule is typically included if you have a court-ordered parenting plan. However, you may need to modify your holiday schedule if circumstances change. If you need to modify your holiday schedule, you must file a motion with the court.


  • It can help to avoid conflict between parents. When parents have a clear holiday schedule in place, they are less likely to argue about who gets to spend time with the children during the holidays.
  • It can help to make sure that the children have a positive and enjoyable experience on vacation. Children who know what to expect are less likely to feel anxious or stressed.
  • It can help ensure the children have a consistent relationship with both parents. When parents share parenting time equally, children are more likely to have a strong relationship with both parents.


  1. Start planning early. The sooner you start planning, the more time you will have to work out the logistics and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly with your co-parent. Keep each other informed about your holiday plans and any concerns you may have.
  3. Be flexible. If something unexpected comes up, be willing to compromise and adjust your plans.
  4. Seek professional help if needed. If you have difficulty communicating or deciding about holidays, consider seeking professional mediation or counseling.

Vacation Time And Regular Visitation Schedules Overlap

Vacation time and regular visitation schedules can overlap. This is often the case, especially during long holiday school breaks

Here are some examples of how vacation time and regular visitation schedules can overlap:

  • A parent might take their child on vacation during their regular visitation time.
  • A parent might take their child on vacation for a week and then have the child return to the other parent for the next week.
  • Parents might split the summer vacation so that each parent has the child for part of the 

Ultimately, the best way to determine how vacation time and regular visitation schedules will overlap is to discuss it with your co-parent and devise an agreement that works for both of you.

Holiday Schedule Written Agreement

A written agreement on the holiday schedule is not always required for separated parents, but it is highly recommended. A written agreement can help to avoid misunderstandings and conflict, and it can also be helpful if the parents need to go to court in the future.

Should Separated Parents Share Travelling?

Are you unsure about how to manage vacation time or overseas trips with your children? Justice Family Lawyers can help. We specialize in crafting fair and practical travel arrangements that prioritize your children’s best interests while respecting parental rights. Let’s work together to create a harmonious travel schedule that benefits everyone. Contact Justice Family Lawyers today for expert guidance and support in all aspects of family travel post-separation. Your family’s peace of mind starts with a conversation.

2 thoughts on “Should Separated Parents Share Travelling? 7 Things to Know”

  1. My daughter lives 600 klms from her son and court orders her to spend 5 days with her son. She earns $600 week and accommodation is over $1,000 plus travel by train food etc plus she pays maintenance and he did not have a court order to take child away from the city so what can be done here

    1. Hi Millie, if the current parenting arrangements are financially unsustainable or logistically impractical, your daughter can apply to the court to vary the parenting orders to better suit the new circumstances. This would involve demonstrating how her circumstances, or those of the child, have changed since the orders were made. It is possible in some cases to request the court to consider an order that might require the father to relocate closer to the mother or to the child’s original location. However, such requests are complex and depend heavily on the specifics of the case. It is advisable that she consult with a family lawyer to discuss her best options moving forward.

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