Permanent Relocation of a Child Abroad
When parents separate or divorce the question of where a child should live is the most difficult decision they will make and when they cannot reach a satisfactory agreement it becomes one of the most difficult for a court to decide. It is made even more difficult when one parent requests that the child permanently moves from the area they currently live to another jurisdiction. The wish or need to remove a child from the jurisdiction of the UK can arise for many reasons for example a new job or to move closer to wider family and support networks.
To remove a child abroad requires either the written consent of everyone with Parental Responsibility (PR) or court order.
Where the parents were or are married to each other or where both parents are named on the child’s birth certificate, both parents will have Parental Responsibility. To remove a child without the appropriate consent or order, can result in an application being made for the immediate return of the child and the starting point is to return the child to their country of origin.
When the court is considering whether to allow the permanent relocation of the child the ‘welfare of the child is always paramount’. They will want to know:
- Whether the motivation for relocating is genuine.
- What effect it will have on the child’s contact with the parent who will be remaining in the UK.
- What arrangements are in place in the new country for example housing arrangements, schools and higher educations, medical facilities etc.
- How will the parent be able to support themselves and the child(ren) financially.
The court will take all of the circumstances into account and weigh up all the positives and negatives. Any application regarding the permanent relocation of a child must be well thought out and researched. Each case will be decided on its facts.
If you require advice regarding the legal implications of relocating with your child and how best to approach this, contact our experienced Family Law team, here.