Step 1 – obtain the other’s parent’s consent
If you are separated or divorced and would like to move abroad with the children, the first step is always to approach the other parent, or any other person who has parental responsibility, and ask for their consent.
A very careful letter should be sent to the other parent, setting out your proposals for the children and explaining why it is in their best interests to relocate.
Step 2 – apply to the court for permission
In the event that the other parent is not prepared to consent to your relocation plans you must obtain the court’s permission.
Step 3 – making your application
Preparing a strong and well researched relocation case is the key to a successful application.
You will be required to prepare a detailed statement setting out the intricate details of your relocation plans, to include:
- your proposed living arrangements;
- details of work, your commute and childcare arrangements;
- your family plans in the new country to include the availability of additional emotional and social support;
- where your child or children will go to school;
- healthcare arrangements;
- clear and well thought out proposals for contact with the other parent and wider family who remain in this country, to include availability of accommodation during any visits and the costing of this;
- the financial viability of the move; and
- what it would mean for you if you were stopped from going. Relevant factors may include your lack of support network in this country which can lead to feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety.
Step 4 – obtaining the court’s permission – how does the court make its decision?
In deciding whether to grant permission, the welfare of the child / children will be the court’s paramount consideration. It is therefore crucial that your relocation case focuses on addressing why it is in the child / children’s best interests to move which crucially includes how their relationship with the other parent can be effectively maintained.
Child relocation is a very technical area of law and it is therefore recommended that you consult a specialist lawyer in the early stages so that the most effective case can be prepared and presented to the court if necessary.