If you are considering moving abroad with your child, you must ensure that you have permission from anyone else with parental responsibility, usually the child’s other parent; or alternatively you will require the court’s permission. To do otherwise, would be a wrongful removal and the remaining parent could bring an application for return of the child (under The Hague Convention).
You may be considering moving abroad for several reasons such as a new job opportunity, to be closer to family, perhaps you have formed a new relationship, or you may simply envisage a better standard of living abroad. Whatever the reason the decision should be carefully considered researched and planned.
You should look at where you will live, what the area can offer, and importantly, the available schooling. You should visit the schools in advance, if possible, and make the details available to your child’s other parent, so they too, can have some input in the decision making. You must carefully consider arrangements for contact with the other parent, and extended family if appropriate.
You must be able to demonstrate the benefits of the move, and what advantages and opportunities it may present to your child. The court will wish to see that your application is genuine and well thought through. Your reasons for moving must be consistent and largely child focused. If the court suspects that you are purposely attempting to disrupt the relationship between your child and the other parent your application may be unsuccessful.
Temporarily, or on Holiday
If you wish to take your child abroad on a temporary basis, again, you will require consent from those with parental responsibility (unless you have a court order in place stating that your child resides with you – in which case you may take them abroad for up to one month). Consent should always be provided if it is reasonable, in the circumstances. We work hard to encourage parents to reach an amicable agreement and to establish an understanding that will work both ways, for the benefit of the child.
If consent is not provided you will have to consider applying to the court for an order determining the issue – known as a Specific Issue Order. Such applications can be made at short notice if necessary, and often determine the arrangements for holidays for the foreseeable future.
You must prepare to disclose details of where you are travelling to, and staying, who you are travelling with and the relationship they have with your child, how you can be contacted, and the benefits to the child of going on the trip. If you envisage that the other parent will raise points about possible risk to the child or the unsuitability of your travel companions, or the location, you must be prepared to address these points in detail.
You may also have to consider how you will promote contact between the child and the other parent during the time away. This is particularly important if the trip will disrupt their usual contact routine. If contact is going to be missed you should consider how this could be made up before or after the trip.
If you are considering moving abroad with your child or if you simply wish to enjoy a holiday and you are unable to obtain agreement from your ex-partner or spouse, please contact one of our family law solicitors based in Canterbury and London.