Blackfords LLP

Relocation of children

When relationships break down, it is not uncommon that one or both parties may wish to relocate. This can be for a number of reasons including returning to their home town and family, moving due to employment, or joining a new partner. If there are children of the relationship, in most circumstances both parents must consent to the children moving away.

If both parents do not agree, it is possible to apply to the court for permission to relocate with the children, either to another part of the country or internationally. It is important to note that if one parent removes the children from the country without the other parent’s consent, that is child abduction.

The court will consider what plans have been made for the children’s care after they move and what contact they will have with their left behind parent, as well as their welfare generally. How much time the children currently spend with each parent may be relevant to the court’s decision making. If the court determines that it is in the children’s best interests to relocate then the application will be granted.

For international relocation, once permission to relocate has been given and the children move abroad, the courts in this country will no longer have jurisdiction to make further decisions about the children’s care. Therefore, it is very important that the final orders are drafted carefully so that they can be used in the new jurisdiction if necessary.

The law relating to relocation of children has changed significantly over the last several years and is complex. We can advise about all national and international relocation cases to help you find a resolution and navigate the court process.

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