Do I Need My Ex-Partner’s Permission To Move With Our Child?

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As separated parents, it is important to think carefully about how to approach decisions for your child. Now separated and on different paths, sharing decisions can be difficult. If you cannot agree, it may be necessary to ask the court to decide what is best.

One example is where the parent with whom a child lives wants to move with that  child to a different area. Even what appears to be a seemingly short distance could prove to be problematic if it could potentially disrupt the child’s current arrangements and schooling.

If a parent wishes to move the child more than a short distance or a distance which will affect the current arrangements and schooling, then they should generally ask for the other parent’s agreement. If this is not agreed by the other parent, the parent wanting to move the child should generally make an application to the family court. If the ‘left behind’ parent believes the child’s move will be undertaken without their consent or court approval, they may need to make an application to the court themselves to stop it.

An ‘internal relocation’ application is a court application which can be made when one parent wants permission to move with the child to a different part of the country.  An application for ‘international relocation’. is where the parent with whom a child lives wants to move abroad.  .  There are obviously huge implications for a child to be removed from the jurisdiction bearing in mind travel time and the proposed location itself.   All issues must be carefully considered in both types of application and in Court proceedings following such an application.

Why might a parent object to a relocation application?

When considering a relocation application, the court focuses on the child’s best interests. However, the child may also be indirectly affected by practical issues or the impact on those around them. Common considerations include:

The impact of the move on the child’s relationship with the other parent.

  • If the move took place, would the child be able to spend as much time with the other parent as they currently do?
  • Would the other parent no longer be able to attend the child’s school or other extra-curricular events?

How the child would manage the change involved in the move.

  • Is the move to somewhere the child is familiar with?
  • Is the move to somewhere the household will have a support network?
  • Does the child have any particular needs, and how will these be met?

The impact of not allowing the move.

  • Would the parent the child lives with struggle to manage if the move was not permitted?
  • What would the impact be financially, or on their support network?
  • Could the child move to live with the other parent? Would this be a significant change for the child?

Relocation applications are complicated and require careful consideration and preparation.   A specialist lawyer can give tailored advice on applying the relevant factors to your situation.

Here to Help

If you need advice on any family matter, please get in touch with Kerrie Hall , Senior Solicitor specialising in Family Law.

Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.