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My ex wants to move abroad with my child, what can I do?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

girl-486950_640No parent may remove their child from the UK without the permission of anyone else with Parental Responsibility such as another parent, or without an order from the courts.

This means that if your ex and parent of your child has decided that they wish to return to their country of birth, or start a new life somewhere abroad they must seek out your permission so long as you have Parental Responsibility.

However, if you decide that your child moving to start a life abroad is not in their best interests then you have the right to refuse their request.

If this happens, then there are usually two routes which can be taken. First of all, your child’s other parent may decide to involve their own solicitor to mediate on their behalf and come to some kind of arrangement. Or secondly, they may decide to take the decision to court if they feel that they have a strong case and will win.

It will then be the courts job to decide whether it will be in the child’s best interests to stay in the UK or to move abroad. They will prioritise the child’s welfare according to the Children’s Act (1989).

What factors will help a decision go in the favour of the applicant?

Some of the factors that tend to help a decision go the way of the parent who wants to move abroad include the following:

  • If the parent who wishes to move abroad is the primary carer of the child
  • If refusing permission may have a negative impact emotionally or physically on the primary carer which would then have a negative impact on the child
  • If the primary carer or their new partner wants to return to their country of birth or has family in the country they plan to move to
  • The primary carer can demonstrate their ability to provide adequate childcare
  • The applicant’s plans are well thought out and well prepared
  • The plans are genuine and do not intend to disrupt the relationship with the other person who has Parental Responsibility
  • There is a support structure in place in the destination country to assist the carer
  • The remaining parent will be able to continue contact in a practical and affordable way
  • The primary carer has remarried and the child is part of a new family structure and support group
  • The child has new family such as step sisters and step brothers and the family would be separated if permission was denied
  • The child understands the impact of relocation on their life and views the move positively
  • The relocating parent spends the most amount of time with the child

What factors will help a decision go in favour of the remaining parent?

Equally there are a number of factors which can help a decision go in favour of the opponent to the application and these include the following:

  • The child understands the impact of relocation and views the move negatively
  • The primary carer does not have the majority of care of the child and the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents
  • There is a strong bond between the child and the remaining parent
  • The support structure that the child has in the UK would not be as strong in the destination country
  • The relocating parent is not genuine in their reasons for wanting to relocate and is instead hoping to reduce contact with the remaining parent
  • The move does not seem practical or well thought out
  • The relocating parent has issues with mental health

Ultimately these are just a checklist of factors and the court will make a decision that they feel is in the best interests of your child. However, in order to present the best case possible to oppose International Leave to Remove you should speak to a solicitor.

This will mean that you can gather the best evidence possible and do all you can to prevent a move taking place. Should it be clear that the court is likely to favour a move, a specialist family law solicitor will be able to help you get the best contact arrangements possible so you can maintain a relationship with your child in the future.

To find out more about our family law team please click here or alternatively call us on 020 7611 4848 to arrange an initial consultation.

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