In my previous articles in this series, I discussed some top tips if you were considering taking your children on holiday in or out of the UK or planning to relocate to another country. Link here
In this article, I will be discussing whether you can move permanently within England and Wales to another part of the country with your child.
Do I need the other parent’s permission? | Relocating within England and Wales
It is always wise to seek permission from the other parent before planning such a move.
Although a move could take place without firstly having sought the other parent’s permission, the other parent could either prevent such a move by involving the court and make an application for a prohibited steps order, or, if the move has already taken place, apply for an order for the child to be returned called a specific issue order.
If there is a child arrangements order in place which sets out the time the child spends with both parents, an application to vary that order will need to be made.
What will the court do?
In dealing with an application, the court will look at what is best for the child and will take into account the welfare checklist which includes:
(a) the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of their age and understanding);
(b) their physical, emotional and educational needs;
(c) the likely effect on them of any change in his circumstances;
(d) their age, sex, background and any characteristics which the court considers relevant;
(e) any harm which they have suffered or are at risk of suffering;
(f) how capable each of their parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting their needs;
(g) the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
The court will consider how any proposed move will affect or benefit the child. It may involve a change of school, a move away from friends, family and more importantly the other parent.
A genuine reason for the move must be present. It cannot be fuelled by seeking to exclude the other parent from the child’s life. Would there be any impact on the parenting of the parent seeking to move if a move was refused? What are the left behind parents’ reasons for refusing the move? These matters will all be considered and scrutinised by the court.
Things to consider
Any move must be well researched. Think about:
- the continuing relationship with the left behind parent
- where the child will be living
- which school/nursery the child will attend
- what the connections are in the new area
- which Doctor/Dentist the child will be registered with
- any clubs the child will attend
- details of your employment: working hours and child care
- any support network.
We always advise that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity if you are looking to relocate or if you are faced with a relocation application. We have specialist lawyers who can help in these often complex cases.
If you have any further enquiries regarding Relocating within England and Wales, please feel free to contact our Family Team and we would be happy to help.