Relocation After Separation
Following separation, it is not uncommon for people’s lives to take off in different directions – but what happens when this inevitably involves people wanting to relocate when there are children involved?
If the proposed relocation is going to impact the time that a child spends with a parent, then it is important to either have that parent’s consent or to obtain a Court Order prior to moving.
Much like any other parenting matter, whether or not a parent would be permitted to relocate with a child will be determined by what it considered to be in the child’s best interests. Generally speaking, the Court will consider factors such as:
- The support available to the parent wanting to relocate where they currently live compared with the support available at their intended location;
- The financial circumstances of the parent wanting to relocate where they currently live compared with their intended location; and
- The options available so as to ensure that the child would continue to have a meaningful relationship with the other parent, despite the fact that the relocation may result in them spending limited time together.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that no parent is ever guaranteed to get the Court’s permission to relocate and the Court will weigh factors such as those listed above against the impact of being separated from one parent on the child when making its decision.
If you are the parent who is staying behind, there are options available to you to stop your child from moving. If you already have Parenting Orders in place, they may include a restriction on relocation.
If you do not already have Orders in place, you can make an application to restrain the child from moving or, if a request to relocate has already been made, oppose that request on the basis that doing so would not be in the child’s best interests.
And what if the other parent has already relocated with the child, without discussing same with you first? If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this position then you can apply to the Court to have the child returned to where they would normally live, irrespective of whether or not there are Parenting Orders in place. If you are successful, the Court will issue what is known as a “Recovery Order” which enables the Police to find the child and return them to you.
As with an application to relocate or an application to restrain a child from being relocated, the Court will determine whether or not to issue a Recovery Order based on what it considers to be in the best interests of the child.
If any of the above scenarios apply to you, contact one of our experienced team today – it is important to act quickly as, the longer that you wait to address the issue, the less likely it is that your application will be successful.