You’ve made the difficult decision to separate from your partner. You are in the process of attempting to rebuild your new life and, in doing so, the life of your child (or indeed children). An opportunity to start afresh comes your way….but it will mean moving a significant distance away from where the former family home is based.
Are you permitted to relocate with the children, or could you be prevented from doing so?
The law in relation to relocation cases has been simplified a little by the case of Re C (Internal Location) 2015. The facts of this case were relatively straight forward. The mother applied to remove the parties’ 10 year old daughter from London to Cumbria. The father, having always played an important role in the upbringing of the child opposed the application, submitting that the shared care arrangement in place prior to the application should continue. On appeal, the mother’s application was successful.
Of course, the decision was of great importance to the parties’ themselves, but was of broader significance to practitioners generally, as a clear approach to relocation applications has now been provided, as follows:
When considering an application to relocate, the Court must reflect upon:
1. The child’s welfare. This is to be the Court’s primary and paramount consideration;
2. The welfare checklist, as contained within the Children’s Act 1989, s.3. The welfare checklist relates to matters such as the wishes of the child, the capability of the parents to care for the child and the effect of any such move on the child in (for the full Welfare Checklist: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/section/); and
3. The presumption that the involvement of a parent in a child’s life will promote that child’s welfare.
The Court clarified that the same approach is to be taken whether the relocation proposed is internal (i.e. within the UK) or external.
Of course, when considering what is in the child’s best interests, the Court must have an eye on the effect the move would have on both parents and the practicalities of the proposed move. Any parent attempting to relocate would therefore be wise to fully consider future schooling arrangements, contact arrangements and ensuring a new home is readily in place.
Our family department at Morrisons can assist you with the framing of your proposal and bringing your case and, in doing so, help you to consider the implications of relocating and how a court might view it.
The key thing to remember is that ultimately, the decision as to whether to grant the application to relocate will hinge on what will best serve the child’s welfare.
If you would like advice or assistance on any of the issues raised in this blog please contact a member of our Family team for a confidential initial discussion.