Moving Abroad – Can I Take My Children With Me?

Recent case law has clarified the law on relocating abroad with children where separated parents have had a shared care arrangement or shared residence.  

If a parent wishes to move abroad with their children they will need the consent of the other parent with parental responsibility.  If the other parent does not consent then an application must be made to the Court for permission to permanently remove the children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales. 

The leading case on the subject of relocation is Payne v Payne 2001. The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.  In this case the mother was the primary carer and had a residence order in her favour. The judgment laid down guidance to be considered when dealing with such applications.  One of the important factors in the guidance is the effect and distress likely to be caused to the applicant parent and new family of the child if the Court refuses to grant permission. 

In the recent case of MK v CK, the father successfully appealed the Court’s decision to grant permission to the mother to relocate to Canada with the parties’ two children.  In this case the father had care of the children for 5 nights out of every 14 day period.  The leading judgment stated that the only principle to be extracted from the case of Payne v Payne is the welfare paramountcy principle; the remainder should be treated as guidance and the relocating parent’s distress at the refusal of an application should not be given more weight than the other factors affecting the child’s welfare. 

MK v CK has strengthened the view that, where the care of children is shared between parents, the welfare of the child is of paramount importance and the effect of being separated from the other parent if relocation is granted will be considered. 

Any applications for permission to move to another country with children will require specialist legal advice from a Child Law Solicitor.  For a free consultation and children’s law advice, call the specialist family solicitors at Forbes Solicitors on freephone 0800 037 4628 or contact us by email today. 

We have expert solicitors in Accrington, Blackburn, Chorley, Leeds, Manchester and Preston.

Donna Amos

About Donna Amos

Donna Amos is an Associate within the Family Law Department at Forbes Solicitors. Donna writes and advises on all aspects of family law, including separation and divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, financial settlements, prenuptial agreements, injunctions, Occupation Orders, matrimonial transfers of property, cohabitation disputes and issues regarding the arrangements for children.
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