My Ex is refusing to sign the Passport Application for the kid, children. What can I do?

A common issue faced by many parents is the child’s passport, either the child does not have an Australian passport, or the passport needs to be renewed.

In Australia, an application for a child’s passport requires consent from both parents. Unless there are court orders in place that give one parent sole parental responsibility, both parents have parental responsibility for the child. In order for the passport office to issue a child passport, both parents with parental responsibility of the child must give consent by signing the passport application.

Issues arise when one parent refuses to sign the passport application. What should you do?

Firstly, whether you are divorced or separated you are still a parent.

Pick up the phone and speak to your ex-partner. It may be that they have already made plans to spend time with the child during the holidays and do not want you taking them overseas. Or they may have concerns about the schedule or destinations. It is best to address those concerns and try to resolve the issues amongst yourselves if possible.

If your ex-partner still refuses to give consent, then you have 2 options:

1. Special circumstances

2. Court order

Special Circumstances

You can make a written request to the Approved Senior Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to consider approving your child’s passport application due to special circumstances. Special circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • Inability to contact the non-consenting parent for a reasonable period of time
  • No contact (no known address) with the non-consenting parent for a substantial period
  • Existence of child welfare orders

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will then make a determination as to whether they will grant the passport or not. Note, arguing special circumstances does not guarantee that your child will be issued a passport.

Court Order

If special circumstances are not accepted, you can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia asking the court to make an order granting permission for the child to obtain a passport without the signature of one parent.

You must demonstrate that you have made every attempt to resolve the matter, including mediation before filing in court. The court gives the parties an opportunity to resolve the matter outside of Court. Also, mediation is cheaper, faster, less stressful than going to court and parties can have their lawyers present if they want. If mediation is unsuccessful, you may file in court.

With your court application you will be asked to submit an affidavit explaining your reasons for travel, whether or when you intend to return back to Australia and provide any other evidence to support your application e.g. flight tickets if already booked, travel itinerary, accommodation details etc.

Remember when considering your application or making orders the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child. It is best to get legal advice and ask the lawyers to prepare the court application.

Let us help you, we are experienced in preparing court applications and getting court orders. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Call us on 02 8999 1800 or email

More Information

If the above was of use, you may be interested to read these related articles:

-> Divorce and Christmas Holidays

-> Interstate and International Relocations


The content provided here is general information. It is not intended to be relied upon for the legal advice.