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'Relocation Relocation' of Separated Families

At first glance at the title you may think I am referring to the popular television programme on Channel 4 hosted by the property experts Kirstie Allsop and Phil Spencer. In fact I am referring to the ever increasing issue arising within separated families, where one parent wishes to leave the UK on a permanent basis and take the children with them to live abroad.

There used to be a presumption in such a case that the primary carer of the children (usually the mother) would succeed in her application to remove the children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales as long as her plans were reasonable.

However as times have changed and the legal world has evolved, the Courts need to treat such a sensitive application with more caution and not automatically follow the old presumption that was relied upon in the past.

New research and case law gives advice as to other factors that should be taken into account when deciding if it is in the child’s best interests to grant a parent’s application for removal from the jurisdiction. This gives promise to those parent’s who are against the idea of their children living in another country, where there are a number of concerns such as different time zones, costs of travel and enforceability of contact orders, which can have a direct negative impact on how often they see or speak to their children.

It is vital that parents, whether they are looking to leave the country and take their children with them or are opposing the removal of their children, get legal advice as to the merits and consequences of such an application. This area of law has become more grey and difficult to conclude and has moved away from simply being a straightforward ‘yes’ to any relocating parent.