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Child relocation with Jennifer Curtis

Where parents separate, the parent with care of the children may want to return to his or her home country. This can involve a wish therefore to relocate a child from England & Wales to a different foreign country or elsewhere within the United Kingdom.

Where a Child Arrangements Order is in force a child may not be taken out of the country for more than one month without the consent of all people who have parental responsibility or the permission of the court.

Even if there is no Child Arrangements Order in force, the consent of any person with parental responsibility must be obtained before a child is taken out of the country and relocated as otherwise the removal could amount to child abduction.

If a parent wishes to move outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales but within the United Kingdom, for example to Scotland, consent needs to be sought from all of the people who have parental responsibility or in the absence of this, the permission of the court.

If a parent wishes to move within the jurisdiction of England and Wales, for example, from Wilmslow to Cornwall, whilst it is in the same jurisdiction all people who have parental responsibility should be consulted about big decisions within a child’s life and therefore consent is required or permission of the court.

There have been a number of historic and recent cases about the international relocation of children. Specialist advice should therefore be obtained. It is important to consider, for example:

  • what is in the best interests of the child
  • what are the wishes also of the parent seeking to relocate and why
  • what are the practical issues, for example:
    • where will the child actually live
    • what will the schooling arrangements be
    • are there going to be an language issues
    • how will the relocating parent support themselves and the child financially
    • what contact will the child have to the left behind parent

In the past a lot of weight was attached to the wishes of the parent wishing to relocate but this has been challenged recently. We have experience in assisting parents wishing to relocate and also for other parents opposing such relocation applications.

Where a child is, however, to relocate to a foreign jurisdiction, whether by the parents’ agreement or court order, it is very important to consider what the actual international contact arrangements will be and how frequent this is to occur and that this child contact is both safe and secure.

We are expert in child relocation and international contact cases. James Maguire is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a member of the Law Society’s child abduction panel. He is also on the panel for a number of embassies (including the US Embassy and Canadian High Commission) and British Consulates overseas.

For advice or an informal chat please contact James Maguire & Co by telephone +44 (0) 1625 544650 or  email:  james.maguire@family-law.co.uk