Family Law Watch List (Airport Watch List)


In today’s mobile age, concerns about a child’s overseas movement are growing among separated or divorced parents. Especially when one fears that the other parent might whisk their children away, possibly disrupting settled lives and custody arrangements. The solution? The Family Law Watch List.


Often mistakenly termed the ‘airport watch list’, the Family Law Watch List is a comprehensive initiative that spans all Australian departure points, from airports to boat terminals. Registering your child’s name on this list prevents them from leaving the Commonwealth of Australia without specific permissions.


Seeking urgent legal counsel from a reputable family law firm like Collective Family Law Group is paramount. While I’m shedding light on this process, nothing replaces tailored legal guidance.

  1. Court Order or Application: There are two main ways to get a child’s name on the Watch List. One can obtain a court order, or more immediately, file an Application with the Court for this specific request.
  2. Serving the Australian Federal Police: After filing the Application, which might also encompass other parenting orders, a sealed copy, along with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Watch List Request Form, should be promptly served to the AFP.

 Notably, it’s not mandatory for the Court to hear the matter before including the names on the Watch List. The mere act of filing the application with the sought Watch List orders and serving it to the AFP will suffice.

  1. Court Appearance: Once your child’s name is on the list, the Court will eventually hear your Application. During this, you can propose maintaining your child’s status on the Watch List until you achieve consensus with the other parent or the Court issues a contrary order.
  2. Affidavit Content: Your Court Application should holistically address both the parenting disagreement and the crucial reasons for your child’s inclusion on the Watch List. Consulting family law solicitors in Gold Coast, like us at Collective Family Law Group, will ensure you present an articulate and compelling case.


If you suspect your child might be illicitly removed from Australia before the commencement of the next business day, there’s an after-hours Court service you can call to potentially get the Watch List Order enacted immediately.


The implications of a child being taken out of Australia, especially to a nation that hasn’t signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, are profound. I’ll delve deeper into this in my subsequent article.

 In conclusion,, if you’re grappling with concerns about international child travel, or you’re anxious about the other parent potentially removing the child from Australia, it’s imperative to immediately consult with a divorce lawyer in Gold Coast.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For tailored counsel, always consult with a qualified family lawyer.


  1. What is the Family Law Watch List?

   – It’s a system that prevents children, once registered, from leaving the Commonwealth of Australia without specific permissions.

  1. How can I add my child’s name to the Watch List?

   – Through a court order or by filing an Application with the Court, followed by serving the Australian Federal Police.

  1. Do I need the Court to hear my case before adding my child’s name?

   – No, simply filing the application and serving it to the AFP is enough to place your child’s name on the list.

  1. Why is urgent legal counsel crucial in such situations?

   – To ensure the child’s safety and adhere to the right legal procedures, especially when there’s a risk of illicit removal from Australia.

  1. Where can I seek expert family law advice in Gold Coast?

   – Collective Family Law Group offers experienced family law consultation free 45-minute initial appointment for such concerns.

You may not know what to do

But We Will

Book a Free Initial Consultation
Meet us to talk about your family law issues before committing to paying for any legal fees. We believe that this way, you can see if you are comfortable with our team and the legal strategy that we propose prior to making a financial commintment.