When parents separate, it's not unusual for one parent to want to move away at some point in their children's lives, whether it be because of a new job, to be nearer to family or to live with a new partner. It's is also possible that one parent may wish to relocate abroad, especially if they are from a different country and moved to the UK to be with their partner.
Obtaining Consent to Move with Your Child
If you wish to relocate with your child, whether abroad or within the UK, you will require the consent of all those who have legal Parental Responsibility for the child/children. This is usually limited to the parents, but depending on the circumstances can also include step-parents or grandparents.
If you do not have consent to relocate a child, or you wish to object to the other parent relocating, then it would be necessary to apply to the Court to obtain consent. This is a complicated area of law and the Court will consider in detail what is in the child's best interests, with reference to the particular circumstances of the case and the relevant points of law in this area.
For example the Court will consider the proposed housing and education for the child, the employment prospects of the parent, how contact will be maintained with the parent left behind, the effect of the decision on both parents generally and the impact it will subsequently have on the child.
Preventing Child Abduction
There are also cases where there is a risk of a child being relocated without the other parent's knowledge. Removing a child permanently from the UK without the other parent's consent is considered child abduction. If you feel your child is at risk then you should urgently seek legal advice from a Family Law Solicitor. It may be necessary for alerts to be placed at all outgoing ports and passports to be seized, as well as other protective measures that we can advise you on.
Our Family Law Solicitors are experts in child relocation cases, both within the UK and abroad and have successfully represented many parents who wish to relocate and those who wish to prevent a relocation. In these cases it's very important to get specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that your child's position is protected.
Lucy Hart is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Children Law, Complex Financial and Property Matters.