12 February, 2020
The Queen's eldest grandson Peter Philips and his Canadian wife Autumn have announced that they are separating after 12 years of marriage. The couple have two daughters together, namely Savannah (9) and Isla (7) and have stated that their decision is "the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship".
Before the recent announcement Philip and Autumn resided together in the UK in Gloucestershire and both have remained living in the area to co-parent their children following separation. However, there are rumours that Autumn may return to Canada in the near future, having been potentially influenced by Prince Harry and Meghan's departure. The question is, how would overseas parenting work and what impact could this have on Savannah and Isla?
Whilst there is nothing to prevent Autumn from returning to her home country of Canada, it would mean that sharing the care of the children may become difficult and possibly involve a significant amount of travelling for the girls. Nothing has been said at this time about whether the daughters, who have dual citizenship, would move to Canada with their mother or remain residing in the UK with their father, however they have been settled in Gloucestershire for a number of years.
Shared care agreements are becoming increasingly common, allowing for children to spend a similar amount of time with both parents. For this type of agreement to work, it requires co-operation between the parties and usually close geographical locations. If the parents end up living too far away from each other, it is likely to impact upon the amount of time the children can reasonably spend with each parent and consequently impact upon the children's best interests.
If one parent moves abroad and wishes to take their children with them and the other parent does not agree, the parent who is emigrating would need to apply to the Court. The Court would look at the facts of each individual case and if a Judge is agreeable to a child moving abroad, they would normally detail within the order the time that the children would spend with their other parent. It is strongly advised that the parties in these circumstances obtain specialist legal advice.
For more information contact Sarah Robson in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.