Wanting to move away with children, or wanting to prevent a parent moving away can be a complex issue.
The Family Law Courts refer to a parent wanting to move away with children as “Relocation.”
If a parent wants to relocate with children, he or she must first obtain the consent of the other parent or if the other parent does not agree, the consent of the Family Law Courts.
Whilst the Family Law Courts cannot stop a parent from relocating, the Family Law Courts can prevent relocation for children. In some cases the Court can order children to stay and it will be up to the parent wanting to move away, whether he or she will stay or move without the child.
If a parent takes matters into their own hands and relocates with the children without the other parent’s, or the Court’s consent, an application can be made to the Family Law Courts for the children to be returned until the Court makes a final decision about the relocation. If there are Court Orders in place and a parent relocates without consent or an appropriate order, that parent will be in breach of the court order.
What do the Family Law Courts consider when determining whether it is in the children’s best interests to relocate? The principles applied by the Courts in relocation cases are the same principles and considerations applied to every other parenting case. These principles include the following:-
- The best interests of the children as set out in section 60CC of the Family Law Act, such as the relationship between the children and their parents, the parents’ willingness and ability to foster the relationship between the children and the other parent and the likely effect on the children of any changes in circumstances.
- The practicality of living with one parent away from the other parent – including the distance the children would have to travel to see the other parent and the costs involved with travel.
- Practical reasons for the parent wanting to move away – including family support; employment; accommodation; medical treatment needs.
After considering these principles, the Courts will then weigh up each parent’s proposals of what is best for the children, by considering the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal, and the arrangements which were in place prior to one parent wanting to relocate. The distance the parent wants to relocate is a very important consideration, as the further away a parent wants to move with the children, the harder it can be for the other parent to maintain a parental bond with the children.
To start the process to enable you to relocate with your children or prevent your children from being relocated, you should contact Mr Stephen Rees or Mr Lindsay Brown.