International Child Relocation

We are experts in international child relocation and international contact cases. We have a wealth of experience in assisting parents wishing to relocate and also for other parents opposing such relocation applications.

Where parents separate either parent 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, known as international child relocation.


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.

What factors should be considered?

There have been a number of historic and recent cases about international child relocation. Specialist family law advice should therefore be obtained and 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 has been attached to the wishes of the parent wishing to relocate and the effect of the refusal upon that parent but this has been challenged recently. An English will consider what is the in the best interests of the child and apply a welfare test.

Where a child is, however, to relocate to a foreign country, it is very important to consider what the actual international contact arrangements will be, how frequent this is and that the arrangements are both safe and secure; together with the measures that can be put in place to safeguard such contact.

About us

James Maguire is a Fellow of the International Academy of Famiy 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 Maguire Family Law by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email at