When a parent has separated from their ex-partner and are looking to move abroad, there can often be issues and disputes in relation to any children from the relationship who they plan to take overseas with them.
Under UK law a person with parental responsibility for a child (a parent, guardian, special guardian or a person named in a Child Arrangement Order) is not allowed to take the child out of the jurisdiction of the UK on a permanent (or temporary relocation) basis without the permission of anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child or order of the Court.
If they do this without permission, it is deemed to be child abduction (as specified under the Hague Convention in relation to child abduction and the Child Abduction and Custody Act) and will most likely have serious consequences.
Relocating abroad with a child
If a person intends to relocate with their child abroad and another person has parental responsibility for the child, or Court proceedings about the child are on-going, the person seeking to relocate will require the permission of the other person, or a Court order, before they can relocate.
Going down the family Court order route is referred to as child relocation proceedings. When a person is looking to relocate with a child outside of the UK, it is known as external relocation (internal relocation refers to relocating to another area of the UK).
Making or preventing a relocation is subject to the orders below:
Specific Issues Order – Relocating abroad with a child
The parent who is moving away must have written consent from the other parent or an order from the Court, known as a Specific Issues Order, before moving abroad with the children.
An application for a Specific Issues Order needs to provide in great detail the plans for relocating overseas, and also provide evidence. The information should include all of the relevant arrangements for the child should the application be granted, including the on-going relationship with the parent who is left behind.
Prohibited Steps Order – Stopping a person from moving overseas with a child
Where a person is attempting to stop another person with parental responsibility from moving abroad with their child, they must apply to the Courts for a Prohibited Steps Order. In the application to the Court the objecting parent must demonstrate that it would be better for the child to remain in the UK.
As with all children law cases, the most prevalent consideration of the family Court will be the best interests of the children.
Whatever the distance, anyone who has parental responsibility for a child needs to take into consideration the legal and emotional implications of the move. It is vital for the lines of communication to remain open between the parties and this can be assisted through the use of mediation.
How can Nelsons help?
For more information regarding relocating abroad with a child after a divorce or separation, please get in touch with children law expert Melanie Bridgen or another member of our Family Law team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.