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When relationships come to an end, it is not always straightforward to agree child arrangements. If you are a parent that is looking to relocate and move abroad permanently with your children, there are many things you should consider before doing so.

Legal Restrictions on Relocation

Firstly, you must be aware of the legal implications of removing your child from the Jurisdiction of England and Wales without the permission of the other parent. If you remove your children from the Jurisdiction of England and Wales without the permission of the other parent or anyone with parental responsibility of your child, you could be committing the criminal offence of child abduction.

You must therefore seek independent legal advice prior to attempting to relocate with your child.

International Relocation

If you are looking to relocate and move abroad with your children, you must either:

  • Seek the consent of the other parent;
  • Seek permission of the Court

Applying for Permission to relocate to another country If the other parents, or anyone with parental responsibility objects to you relocating with your children, you can make an application to the Court for permission to relocate. This application for permission will be made under the Children Act 1989.

In all cases, the welfare of your children is the Court’s primary concern. The Court will consider the Welfare Checklist as set out in section1 (3) of the Children Act 1989 when considering an application for relocation. The Court will consider the following:

  • The wishes and feeling of the child
  • The Child’s emotional, educational and physical needs
  • The likely effect of any change in the child’s circumstances
  • The child’s age, background, gender and any disabilities
  • Any harm that’s the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering
  • How capable each of the parents in meeting the child’s needs

How to Achieve a successful application

It is advisable that you consider and provide the Court that you have considered the practicalities of the move and potential difficulties of the move generally and on your children. It is recommended that you cover the following points in your application:

  • The reasons for wanting to relocate with your children
  • Where you intend to live including complete information about the area that you intend to live in
  • Details of the children’s’ new school
  • Details of what the area has to offer in terms of educational and medical facilities
  • Impact of the changes in culture and language on your children
  • Proposals for contact between the children and other parent
  • Details of any support network that you will have in the country you are proposing to relocate to

For more information about child relocation, please contact a member of our specialist family law team.