Relocating with Children
When a relationship breaks down and each partner decides to go their own separate way, you may find yourself contemplating relocating with children. Whether it's you who is looking to relocate with your children or your former partner, you need to be aware of some important considerations.
There can be a number of reasons for wanting to relocate. During a relationship you might have followed a partner's career opportunity to a new location away from family and friends. Perhaps the area you lived in as a couple is unaffordable on a single income, you might wish to pursue a new job elsewhere or you just don't want to run into your ex at the local supermarket.
Moving away after a separation can quite often be a great way to start fresh in your new, post-separation/divorce life. However, when there are children involved, it is not as easy as just packing up and leaving. It's important to remember that the relocation of children is fundamentally about the rights of the children.
Generally, both parents share equal parental responsibility for their children, which means they need to jointly make long term or major decisions for the children, including where they will reside.
Further to this, children have the right to an ongoing meaningful relationship with both parents, which will include regularly spending time and communicating with each parent, where it is of course safe to do so.
When is consent from both parents required?
When considering relocating with children, whether it be:
- overseas, or
- interstate, or
- to the other side of the city
- prevents or reduces the opportunity to maintain the parent/child relationship, and/or
- incurs significant difficulty and expense for current time to continue, and/or
- requires a change of schools
consent from both parents will be required.
If consent cannot be obtained, the parent wishing to relocate with the children will need to seek an Order of the Court allowing the move, and setting out the ongoing care arrangements.
When will I not be able to relocate with my child?
Whilst there are many cases where a parent has been allowed to move away with the children, there have been many where they have not. Each case will be decided on its own circumstances and it is important to know that where one party leaves without consent, the Court has the ability to order them to come back whilst the matter is decided, which can be an inconvenient and expensive process, and potentially prejudice their ultimate position.
What is the best way to relocate with children?
The best place to start with any proposed relocation is to discuss the changes with the other parent. If this can't be done directly, then a mediation centre such as the Family Relationship Centre should be looked into. A Lawyer can also assist you in forming a strategy and talking to the other party (or their Lawyer).
How can Sharrock Pitman Legal help?
If you or someone you know is experiencing concerns relating to the relocation of their children, we can make you aware of your options and assist you in the process.
Sharrock Pitman Legal is an award winning practice, serving customers for over 50 years. To discuss your situation confidentially, contact our specialist family law team on 1300 205 506 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.
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For further information contact
Ath is a Senior Associate of Sharrock Pitman Legal.
She is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). For further information, contact Ath on her direct line (03) 8561 3319.