I want to move abroad: can I take my child with me?
A dispute may arise when one parent wishes to permanently relocate the child to a different country due to divorce or separation.
If both parents do not agree with this, it is important that you follow the correct procedure to avoid being accused of wrongful removal.
In order to relocate your child abroad, you will either need the other parent’s consent or the permission of the court.
How do I apply to the court?
Firstly, you will need to satisfy the court’s mediation requirement to show that you have attempted to resolve any potential dispute out of court.
Once you have satisfied this, you can apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order on Form C100.
The court will then list a hearing to determine whether permission is granted having taken into account the welfare checklist found under the Children’s Act 1989. This includes: –
- Your child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings in the light of their age and understanding.
- Your child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
- The likely effect on the child of any change in their circumstances.
- Your child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics the court considers relevant.
- Any harm your child has suffered or is at risk of suffering. How capable you and your partner are of meeting the child’s needs.
- The range of powers available to the court.
How can I stop my partner from permanently relocating our child?
On the other hand, you may find yourself in a position where you are concerned that your partner may attempt to remove your child from the country and relocate.
If you are concerned about this, it is important that you act fast and apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order as well as requesting the other parent surrender the child’s passport. You should also contact the police immediately so that they can inform the ports to try to prevent the child from being taken out of the country. This is called a ‘port alert’ and lasts for 28 days, giving you an opportunity to take further legal advice.
Discuss your options with Kew Law’s family law solicitors
It is very important that you act fast and in accordance with the law when dealing with the relocation of a child.
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