By Briana Kotzapavlidis

19 June 2018

The government has again renewed its efforts to collect unpaid child support, including by the imposition of Departure Prohibition Orders (“DPO’s”).

A DPO is an international travel ban, which gives Border Force the power to stop a person who owes child support at the airport. DPOs are made administratively by the Department of Human Services (Child Support), without the need to go to Court. However, a person against whom a DPO has been made should expect to receive written notice.

DPOs are administered jointly by the Department of Immigration and the Department of Human Services (Child Support) and they result in child support collections of more than $10,000,000 per annum. More than 350 people have been stopped at the airport so far this year.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan has recently been quoted in the media as saying:

If we see you at an airport or seaport trying to leave the country and you owe child support we will make you pay before you are allowed to leave.

Last year, one person paid $350,000 in child support before being allowed to travel overseas.

Whilst a delay in taking your overseas holiday may be inconvenient, being stopped from travelling internationally for work or business could be professionally and financially detrimental. There are legal avenues to dispute a DPO and grounds upon which a person with a DPO might be able to negotiate it being lifted.

We invite you to contact our Family Law team for advice in relation to your child support matter.

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