I want to relocate with my children, what should I do?

Family Law 4 May 2020

From time to time a parent may want to relocate with a child or children of a relationship. The planned relocation may be due to work, personal or other reasons including the parent having a greater support network in another area.

Unfortunately, situations where one parent relocates to another area, or even another state, are never easy and usually result in a child or children spending less time with one parent due to the distance between parents after the relocation.

How do the courts view relocation?

When determining whether a parent should be allowed to relocate, a Court asks the question as to whether children will be able to have a meaningful relationship with both parents after the relocation.

These cases are never easy and require an examination of the relationship the child/children have with the parent they live with and the parent they spend less time with. The Court will generally look unfavourably on a parent who uses relocation as a means of alienating a parent from a child’s life.

Generally speaking, the relocating parent must be able to satisfy, not only a Court but the non-resident parent that despite the relocation a meaningful relationship can be maintained between the child/children and the non-relocating party.

How do I go about relocating?

It is very important that when you consider relocating you seek the appropriate legal advice to ensure that an appropriate proposal in relation to parenting arrangements is put in place following the relocation.  It is important that you do not relocate until such time as you have secured the consent of:

1. The non-resident parent; or

2. A Court.

The Court has the power to Order the return of a child or children in circumstances where a party has not sought and been granted consent prior to relocating.

Relocation cases are often determined on the conduct of the parties both during the relationship and following separation. I strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before contemplating any application to relocate.

If you fear for your safety and are seeking to relocate to protect the safety of you or your child/children it is important that you seek urgent legal advice and in the event you have immediate concerns for your safety it is important that you contact the Police.

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