The need for internal relocation with children can arise in many circumstances. However, the most common situations are as follows: –
- The person seeking to move has remarried or is in a new relationship and the new partner lives in another part of the UK.
- The person seeking to move or their new partner has been offered employment in another part of the UK.
- The person seeking to move wishes to return to their home town to be close to family and friends.
The most difficult set of circumstances for parents and the Court are where one parent seeks to move some distance away from the other parent and the move will disrupt the relationship and time that the children spend with the other parent. This is not only a distressing time for parents but also the wider maternal and paternal family who may also be impacted by the proposed move.
If the parent wishing to move has sole care of the children, or is named as the person with whom the children live with under a Child Arrangements Order, they do not normally have to seek the Court’s permission to relocate with the children. The parent with whom the children do not reside can apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent the move and for a Child Arrangements Order seeking that the children reside with them should the parent wish to go ahead with their relocation plan.
The parent seeking to move should, therefore, provide a detailed plan of their proposed move to include information about their new accommodation, new employment and the children’s new school etc to show that they have carefully thought the move through and it is not a decision made on impulse. The move should be focused on the best interests of the children as this is always the Court’s priority.
The request of a primary carer to relocate is unlikely to be refused unless there are compelling reasons to do so and Court is unlikely to refuse the request unless there are strong welfare grounds to do so and/or the plans are unreasonable, unrealistic or ill thought through. It is also possible to argue exceptional circumstances if the move is a means of frustrating the relationship between the children and the other parent.
Every case, of course, turns on its own facts and the children’s welfare remains the paramount concern of the Court.
If you are considering relocating with your children or find yourself opposed to the other parent’s move, it is best to obtain legal advice in relation to your position early on in matters.
Our family law solicitors specialises in complex children matters to include internal relocation cases.
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T: 029 20342233