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In International Leave to Remove your child’s needs come first

Monday, 27 June 2016

child-817368_640It is often a sad time when a relationship comes to an end, but when there are children involved it can be even more painful and complicated. One example of a problem that can arise is when one parent seeks to move permanently to another country.

In the UK, it is an offence to move your child abroad without proper permission from anyone else who shares parental responsibility. To do so without first seeking approval can be classed as abduction – a criminal offence.

Sometimes though, after a relationship comes to an end, a parent might decide to leave the country they have been living in. If they have moved here from abroad then they may decide to return to the country they originally came from, and have the child grow up close to family. Alternatively, they may wish to move to an entirely new country from the UK for a better life. Either way, permission must be sought from any other party who has Parental Responsibility.

However, while in the past courts in the UK have had a reputation for favouring the relocating parent so long as their plans were well thought out; today the courts prioritise the needs of the child in accordance with the Children Act (1989).

The court will consider what is best for the child in each individual case, by referring to the ‘Welfare Checklist’ contained within the Children Act (1989).

They will consider the following:

  • The wishes and feelings of the child concerned
  • Age, sex, background and any other relevant characteristics
  • Their physical, emotional and educational needs
  • Any history of harm or risk of harm in the future
  • How capable each parent and any other person in relation to the case is of meeting the child’s needs
  • The powers available to the court under the Children Act
  • The presumed effect of a change in their circumstances

In order for an application to be successful the applicant will need to satisfy the court that not only are their plans for relocation well thought out and planned, but also that the move will have no adverse affect on the child in question.

They will also need to ensure that the child will be able to maintain contact with their parent, whether through regular visits or sometimes through less frequent visits supplemented with telephone or video calls.

Whether you are planning to relocate with your child, or your child’s other parent has requested your permission to relocate, you should seek immediate legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor. International Leave to Remove cases are notoriously complex and will require extensive planning.

For more information or to arrange an initial consultation with one of Rollingsons Family Law team, contact us on 0207 7611 4848.

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