When a relationship breaks down, one parent may decide they want to move away, taking the children with them. This may be to return home, to another part of England and Wales or abroad, or due to lifestyle changes, such as to move closer to a job opportunity or a new partner.
Whether moving elsewhere in England and Wales (internal relocation) or outside of the country (external relocation), many people do not realise that unless the other parent consents to the move, permission will probably be needed from the court to allow the relocation.
The court must carry out a balancing exercise to weigh up all of the factors that might be relevant before deciding whether or not to give permission. The welfare of the children is the priority and the court will follow the welfare checklist to consider:
- The motivations of both parents;
- The specifics of the proposed relocation and planning of this;
- Any alternative plan;
- The contact arrangements following any relocation;
- The impact of any move on the relationship with the other parent; and
- The child’s wishes and feelings.
These issues are often complex and incredibly emotional, and our team of family solicitors are available to provide clear and comprehensive advice, whether you are the parent considering moving abroad or are trying to prevent the other parent from doing so.
There are a number of issues which might need to be considered when it comes to a proposed relocation. The court could be asked to make a general order allowing the relocation or a prohibited steps order to prevent the relocation. Alternatively, there may be more specific issues to consider such as which school the child is to attend.
Our team of family solicitors can give you advice in relation to any proposed relocation, as well as any other implications which might arise concerning the contact arrangements following a move and the enforcement of those arrangements.
Joanna acted for a parent in relation to their Children Act proceedings regarding their children. Prior to separation, the whole family were situated abroad. On the breakdown of the marriage, the other parent moved back to the UK with the children whilst our client remained living and working abroad. Joanna was instructed to make an application on our client’s behalf to obtain contact with their children. By the time of the proceedings, therapeutic input was required as the parent had alienated one of the children against our client, resulting in an almost total breakdown in the relationship between the parent and child. As a result of the progress made within the court proceedings and therapy, our client secured arrangements with their children, which included the children travelling to spend time with them during the holidays and attending family celebrations.