International Child Relocation
Where parents separate, the parent with care of the children may want to return to his or her home country or a new place of work. This can involve a wish therefore to relocate a child from England & Wales to a different foreign country or elsewhere within the United Kingdom.
What factors are considered in an international relocation case?
There have been a number of recent cases about the international relocation of children. 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 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. A family court will consider what is the in the best interests of the child and apply a welfare test.
We have more information about the general family law principles here.
Do I need permission to relocate my children to Scotland or Northern Ireland?
If you wish to move outside the jurisdiction of England & Wales but within the United Kingdom, for example to Scotland or Northern Ireland, consent still needs to be obtained from all of the people who have parental responsibility or in the absence of this, the permission of the court.
Do I need permission to relocate my children within England & Wales?
If you wish to move within the jurisdiction of England and Wales, for example, from Manchester 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 advisable or permission of the court.
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.
Do I need advice from a specialist child relocation solicitor?
If any of these issues affect you, then please call us as we can help you.
Maguire Family Law are experts in child relocation and international cases involving children. James Maguire is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. He is also on the panel for a number of embassies including the US Embassy and British Consulates overseas. We also have contact to several leading lawyers worldwide.