Divorce and child custody – agreeing a relocation following a divorce

Written by Darren Francis, Associate Solicitor

Sometimes, usually when a relationship breaks down, the parent with day – to – day care of their children may wish to relocate, either to another part of the United Kingdom (UK) or to another country.

Written agreements and mediation support are a sensible starting point

Any proposed move needs to be carefully thought out by the parent choosing to relocate. It is always advisable to try and obtain the written agreement of the other parent first, if possible, and to iron out the finer details of any proposals.

Whether you or your ex-partner are planning a relocation, any proposals must be reasonable and consider a wide range of factors such as location, schooling, financial arrangements, and agreeing time with each parent.

In certain cases, where the child is considered old enough to express their feelings, these can also be taken into account.

If you are on speaking terms with your ex-partner, then matters can be agreed between you, but should be carefully documented. If you feel that you may need help or guidance to reach an agreement, then Family Mediation is a sensible first step.

Child Arrangements Orders can provide certainty and finality

However, if matters become acrimonious or complex, then either parent is entitled to make an application to the Court to try and achieve certainty and finality.

If you have already been involved with Court proceedings on this issue, then the Court may have made a Child Arrangements Order to dictate living arrangements or, if a child is going to another country, a Specific Issue Order to allow legal removal.

How professional legal advice can help

It is always sensible to get legal advice at the outset as what may appear straightforward may not be possible and removing a child permanently from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, without the other parent’s consent, is a criminal offence.

Seeking legal advice from a solicitor can make all the difference by empowering you to make informed decisions, as well as giving you peace of mind on your rights and what costs may be involved.

If you have any questions concerning arrangements for children upon separation, please contact us to discuss matters with one of our family experts.

We have offices in Bournemouth, Cranborne Chase, Crewkerne, Dorchester, Parkstone, Poole, Swanage and Wareham.

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