Relocation, relocation

It is inevitable that when parents separate, one may wish to relocate, whether that be to start afresh or to move back to be closer to family. But what if one parent wants to relocate with the child but the other parent objects?

The court has clarified in a recent case how it will approach an application for one parent to relocate within the UK which is opposed by the other parent (Re C (Internal Relocation) [2015]):

  • The welfare of the child is the court’s paramount consideration.
  • The basic principle is that a parent can live where they like in the UK with the children that live with them.
  • Only if relocation is not in the child’s best interests will the court will prohibit the relocation.

It was previously thought that a parent opposing an internal relocation (i.e. a move from one part of the UK to another) would have to show ‘exceptional circumstances’ for the court to prohibit the relocation. However, the court has now confirmed that it is only the child’s welfare that will determine its decision. The circumstances do not necessarily have to be exceptional in order for the court to decide to prohibit an internal relocation.

The distance that a parent wishes to move and how easy it will be for the other parent to spend time with the child are still relevant factors that the court will have regard to, but it will only prevent a move if this is in the child’s best interests.

If you require any legal advice regarding your children, or would like further information on the issues raised in this article, please contact one of our specialist family solicitors on 0161 941 4000. We offer a free 30 minute appointment, subject to assessment.

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