Few would dispute that going through a divorce is a stressful and complex process, especially when it involves relocating.
It is important to be aware of all the rights and responsibilities that come with separation, even more so when children are involved.
It is an offence under The Child Abduction Act 1984 to remove a child under the age of 16 from the UK without appropriate consent.
Anyone wishing to move abroad with their child/children must obtain suitable permission.
Here are the dos and don’ts of moving abroad with children after a divorce, and what to do if an individual does not want to give consent to their child/children relocating.
- Obtain consent
It is vital that appropriate consent from every person who has Parental Responsibility for the child/children is obtained. This can include the child’s mother, the child’s father, any guardian of the child, any special guardian, any person named in a child arrangements order as a person with whom the child is to live or anyone who has the benefit of a Parental Responsibility Agreement or Order.
This must be in writing and unambiguous otherwise there may be doubts as to whether proper permission was given.
- Consider the correct application
In cases where consent is refused, applications to the Court can be made. There are different applications depending on whether or not there is already a Child Arrangements Order in place.
The welfare of the child is always paramount and there is no presumption in favour of the parent making the application.”
Enquiries should be made as early as possible. This could include research into schooling, places to live, employment options and a support network. It is also vital to look into whether there are any additional immigration requirements.
- Act too quickly
External relocation should not occur until appropriate consent(s) from those with Parental Responsibility or an Order of the Court giving permission has been given.
Anyone who moves without this consent risks imprisonment under The Child Abduction Act.
Preparation and research should be done well in advance as all the processes can take a significant amount of time, especially if the Court is involved.
- Damage relationships with your child/children
All parties involved should remain impartial; relocation should not be used as a way of frustrating the relationship between the child/children and the other parent.
Remember, the child’s welfare is paramount and if this is in question this will affect the decision of those with Parental Responsibility and/or the Court.
Keeping children in the country
If an ex-partner intends on taking the child/children involved out of the UK and there is a disagreement, urgent legal advice should be obtained.
There are certain applications that can be made to the Court to try and prevent external relocation from happening.
If refusal of consent by the Court is desired, clear reasons should be made as to why the application is being opposed.
These should focus on the welfare of the child and why it would be more secure if they were to remain in the country.