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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34897
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Can I block my childrens UK passport to stop them traveling

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Can I block my childrens UK passport to stop them traveling to Australia with their mother?
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Customer: I ex partner and my twin girls are all British born, but they are now Australian citizens (NO Aus Passports yet). I am bringing them to the UK on holiday, but due to mothers mental health conditions I want to prevent them from leaving UK after the holiday and stay in Scotland with surrounding loving family where mother can be treated for mental health problems?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have an ex partner, never married, but twin 4 yo girls.
They have been living in Australia for nearly 4 years. The became permanent residents, then Aus citizens.
They have UK passports, but not Aus passports
I partially lived there, but always worked overseas and visited during time off work, hence never a resident or citizen of Australia.
We are originally from Scotland, where both of our families are still located
We have been separated for 1 -2 years arguable as she tries to increase her claims against me.
She refuses to work and contribute to financially support the girls, although she has been saying she will get a job now for 3 years.
I fear she is mentally ill, as she will not work, cannot make decisions, if she does she changes mind at last minute, has no friends and living on isolation being depending on money from me and the government to survive, while all family remains in Scotland worried about her and the girls lives, pleading with her to come back to Scotland for family support.
I have arranged to take them from Melbourne back to Scotland on holiday for one month.
The question I have is that once we arrive in Scotland, can I have the girls passport blocked so they cannot travel back to Australia until such time as the mothers mental health is assessed and decisions are confirmed legally in the best interests of the girls future? If I cannot have the passports blocked in the mothers possession, what would happen if I as the father took possession of the passports and refused to give them back until such time as things are sorted out either legally and with intervention of family support. As per my research am lead to believe this would be a civil matter rather than a police matter. Would she then be forced to engage lawyers rather than police trying to press charges and how long would the civil process take, would it be weeks, months or years to resolve?

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you.

I am sorry but this is not something that you will be able to do.

If you do try and remain in Scotland then your ex will be able to make an immediate and urgent application to the Court using the Hague Convention to ensure that she is able to return with them to Australia.

You will potentially face prison if you do not hand over the passports - which cannot be blocked in any way

This will be done swiftly and the matter will be resolved as it is the Australian Family Courts which have the power to determine where the children live and with whom.

I am sorry - I appreciate that this is not what you wish to hear, but you would do better to organise some form of "intervention" by her family to help her address her issues

Please ask if you need further details

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you explain as to why this is a matter for the Australian Family courts when we are all British citizens and the issue would be happening in Scotland?
Can you explain the sequence of events that would take place? Would it be a British lawyer or Australian laywer who would act first of all, perhaps set a court date? Correct me if I am wrong, but with me being the father, while we all remain in our native country of Scotland the police could not take the passports off me, without a court order, correct? Under these circumstances could it really be considered under the Hague convention or would it actually just be a family dispute?already
Finally, on a separate, but similar matter. My ex has approached the Australian legal system about taking me to court for formal/legal separation even when we were not married and I am not an Australian resident or citizen. A defacto relationship is considered the same or similar in Australia. Does the Australian jurisdiction have the right to consider my property in UK in the separation settlement? May I add it was property that was purchased before I met my ex and her name is ***** ***** the property. Being a none citizen/resident of Australia am I obligated to declare it in separation? Can I be protected from this potential loss in Australia by the UK legal system?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When can I expect a response for this?