Children inevitably are affected by the breakdown of the relationship. Internal (move within the UK) and external (move outside the jurisdiction) relocation applications are for most parents the most emotive applications they make during their separation.
The court will solely focus on the welfare test in favour of the child when considering such applications.
Do you have a ‘lives with’ order in force?
In such case, you are permitted to travel with the child abroad for up to a month, without seeking permission from the other parent. S13 (2) Children Act.
What happens though, when the parties have an informal arrangement between themselves about contact arrangements but not an agreed court order?
If this is the case, the Children Act does not require either parent to seek permission for traveling with the child, however, where the communication between the parents is poor, it is best practice to seek permission prior removing the child from the jurisdiction failure to which may result in the commission of the criminal offence of child abduction.
What if I want to move permanently with the child? How do I prepare my application?
1. Take legal advice from a family law solicitor, with experience in such applications. ‘Relocation cases are often the most difficult applications that the judge may be faced with. To determine whether it is in the child’s best interest to move away from one parent is not an easy question to answer’.
2. Consider when the best time is to relocate. From the outset of your application, you need to think about when it would be the best time to move out with the child, eg. the end of the school year.
3. Consider any evidence from CAFCASS or the local authority. In every application made to the court, an independent social worker will be appointed to ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings on the relocation by undertaking a welfare analysis.
4. Consider whether mediation or arbitration can assist you in reaching an agreement outside the legal arena.
5. Plan ahead. When considering reallocation cases, the Judge will need to see concrete evidence that you have planned new life in the new country with the child.
a. Living arrangements
b. Job opportunities for you in new in the new country
c. Depending on the child’s age how easy it will be to enrol the child to school
d. Will your relocation result in a better standard of living for you and the child
e. What are your proposals for contact between the child and the other parent
f. Can you support financially the travel arrangements
g. Will you have a support network (friends and family)
h. Is your motivation to move genuine?
i. Will it be in the child’s best interests to move
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