It is an offence to remove a child under 16 from the jurisdiction of England and Wales without the consent of each person with Parental Responsibility or a Court Order. The exception is a Special Guardian who can remove a child for up to 3 months without the parents’ consent or Court Order. A parent with a “lives with” Order can remove a child for up to a month.
The factors to be considered will depend on whether the parent’s relocation with the child is internal (within England and Wales) or abroad.
Reasons for wishing to relocate vary but may include the resident parent securing employment in a different area or country, a desire to return to their home Country on the breakdown of a relationship or their new partner securing employment elsewhere.
If a parent learns of the other parent’s plan to relocate without consent and without a Court Order, it is possible to apply to the Court for an Order to prevent the removal until the Court fully considers the proposed move. The application would be for a “Prohibited Steps Order”. The application can be dismissed if the parents then agree to the relocation. If the Court considers the relocation to be in the child’s best interest it can order relocation. A Court can also decide relocation is not in the child’s best interests.
The Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child.
We have experience dealing with applications for relocation. We act for parents wishing to relocate and parents wishing to prevent the child moving away, which could potentially impact on their relationship.
We offer a free no obligation initial consultation. Taking legal advice at an early stage can often avoid pitfalls and can enable you resolve matters sooner.