Moving on?

6th September 2021

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by Daniel SIms, Solicitor, Family Law Department

Sometimes when a marriage or relationship breaks down, even where children are involved, one spouse or partner will want to move away. They may stay within the country, but perhaps wish to be closer to family, take up a new job opportunity, or just want to start a new chapter in his or her life.

If both parents or guardians have ‘Parental Responsibility’ for the children, they have equal rights and responsibilities. This means neither can dictate the arrangements for when the children are with the other parent.

The ‘moving’ parent should try to agree this with the ‘staying’ parent by discussing school options and contact arrangements for the future. Mediation may be helpful in facilitating this discussion. No parent or guardian should assume that they can simply move away with the children.

If no agreement can be reached, either parent may have to make an application to the Court for an Order. The ‘moving’ parent or guardian would apply for a Child Arrangements Order and Specific Issue; the ‘staying’ parent would apply for a Child Arrangements Order and Prohibited Steps Order.

The outcome of these cases are difficult to predict, as there can be differences of thinking between Courts when considering the pros and cons of such moves. Generally, the Courts will be reluctant to prevent a parent from exercising choice about where to live in the country, unless the children’s welfare requires it.

The Court will consider factors such as the practicalities of the proposed move – what will the living costs will be? How often do the children see the ‘staying’ parent now – and how often would they see them if they moved away? What are the schools like in the new area? For these reasons, every case will be different.

As with all other decisions and arrangements, this matter requires clear communication between the parents, focusing on what is best for the children.

If you would like advice regarding proposed relocation with children, or any other family matter, please contact us at info@fraserdawbarns.com or telephone any of our offices.

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This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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