Following the end of a relationship each parent may have different ideas about what is best for their child based on their own circumstances or future plans. These may involve one parent wishing to relocate to another town within the UK or even moving abroad. This can be a very emotional time for both parent and child, especially if it is something out of the parent’s control, such as relocation of a job.
It can be a difficult decision to make, but also if opposed by the parent whom the child is not living with, can be hard to achieve. There is no hard and fast rule surrounding the decision to relocate and it must always be determined in accordance with what is best for the child involved.
The court will base their decision on section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989 which includes (but not exclusively):
- The feelings and wishes of the child
- The physical, emotional and educational needs of the child
- The effect any change in circumstances is likely to have on all parties
- And the powers available to the Court
When Can The Court Intervene?
If either parent acts without the consent of the other parent, they risk the court taking steps to alter any move that is intended or has recently taken place.
The intervention may come in the form of a Prohibited Steps Order, similar to an injunction or a Specific Issue and/or Child Arrangements Order which require the parent to return the child to the pre-existing arrangement before the move took place.
If a child has been moved out of the UK without permission of the other parent, then the parent who has removed the child could be found guilty of child abduction. This can lead to a criminal record.
Whatever the desire of the parent whom is seeking to relocate with their child, they must obtain consent from the other parent or the court. This is true whether it is within the UK or overseas.
The Court will consider the full needs of the child are being met and that the parent left behind can still maintain contact if they have been granted it. If you are considering relocating with your child, it is imperative that you seek permission and undergo negotiations where possible. Contact one of our family law team today if you are considering a move with your child and let us help you negotiate terms.