After a divorce or separation, you may wish to relocate to start a new life.  This will be a significant decision and can be a complex issue, particularly if you have children involved.  In this situation, it is important that you consider the impact this may have on your children as relocating will clearly reduce the amount of time that can be spent with the non-resident parent and could be detrimental to their wellbeing.

After reflecting on the facts, should you still wish to move it is vital that you adhere to the legal requirements involved, which is where we can help.

Our Child Law specialists within our Family & Relationships department have vast experience in supporting parents with making plans for their future, especially when children are involved.  We can explain the different factors that could impact whether you can relocate with your child following a separation, and how to go about doing so lawfully.  Should you wish to discuss your situation in further detail, we offer a free, no obligation initial appointment, during which we will listen to you and advise on the various options you have.

Can I relocate with my children without consent?

In the United Kingdom, it is an offence to remove a child under the age of 16 from the jurisdiction of England and Wales without the consent of each person with parental responsibility or if there is a relevant Court Order in place.

If you wish to relocate within England and Wales with your children and you share parental responsibility with the other parent, you must obtain their consent before making the move. If the non-resident parent does not agree to the relocation, we would always recommend that you attempt to rectify the situation between the two of you, either through Family Mediation or collaborative law.  These approaches can allow both you and the other parent the opportunity to discuss your wishes and attempt to come to a compromise to move forward without adding to any existing hostilities.

However, should you not be able to reach an agreement and you still wish to move, you will need to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order.

The Court will inevitably put the best interests of the child at the heart of their decision, considering various factors when deciding on relocation within the country, including:

  • The reasons for the move.
  • The potential impact on the child’s relationship with the non-resident parent.
  • The child’s welfare and effect the move will have on other relationships in their lives, such as with their friends and other family members.

There are some exceptions regarding relocation without consent of the other parent.  If you are a Special Guardian and you have a Special Guardianship Order in place, you can remove a child for up to 3 months without the parents’ consent or a Court Order.  Similarly, for parents who have a “live with” Order, you can remove the child for up to a month without the other parent’s permission.

Can I relocate abroad with my children following a separation?

Relocating abroad with the children is a more complex matter, as it involves crossing international borders. If you wish to move to another country with your child, you must obtain the consent of everyone with parental responsibility or through the relevant Court Order.

The Court’s paramount consideration in international relocation cases is the child’s best interests and the Judge will assess several factors, including:

  • The reasons for the move, such as employment opportunities or family support.
  • The child’s relationship with the non-resident parent and extended family.
  • The child’s ties to their current community and school.
  • The potential impact on the child’s emotional well-being and stability.

How can I prevent my ex from relocating with my children?

If you are the non-resident parent and learn of the other parent’s plan to relocate without your consent, you can apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order. This order aims to prevent the child’s removal until the Court fully considers the proposed move. The Court will evaluate whether the motivation to relocate is being made with the child at the heart of decision, and can either allow or disallow the relocation.

Relocation cases with children can be emotionally charged and legally intricate. Whether you are seeking to relocate with your child or wish to prevent the relocation, our Children Law specialists are on hand to help you.  We can guide you through the legal process, present your case effectively, and protect your rights and the best interests of your children.

Contact our Family Law Solicitors

To book your free initial appointment today, contact a member of our Family & Relationships department from one of our offices in AndoverRomseySalisbury or Witney by using the Contact Form, emailing moc.n1709421834ellub1709421834rekra1709421834p@ofn1709421834i1709421834 or calling your local office using one of the phone numbers below:

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Your Child Relocation following Separation Team

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