Child Relocation After Divorce

They are simply excellent in their dynamic approach to family litigation, balancing tenaciousness with the sensitivity required in family law.

The Legal 500, 2023

Deciding to relocate a child in the UK or abroad following divorce can be difficult. While the law governing child relocation focuses on the welfare of the child, relocating abroad (and potentially within the UK) is not allowed unless agreed to by the other parent or ordered by the court.

The legal process surrounding child relocation can be lengthy and complex, so getting specialist legal advice is recommended. Our expert solicitors can help you if:

Relocation can also have an effect on pre-existing child arrangements such as maintenance payments. For instance, if relocation reduces the amount of time a child spends with the paying parent, the maintenance owed may increase. Issues such as this make obtaining expert legal advice even more important.

We take a no-nonsense approach to cases involving children and will be honest about your prospects from the outset. Many solicitors will tell you what they think you want to hear, which may leave you disappointed further down the line. We often help people who have received bad advice, or whose corner has not been fought by their current lawyer.

Our expert team can also help you access a variety of specialist organisations, including counsellors, family therapists, mediators and NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service). 

If you'd like a conversation regarding the services we can offer you, please feel free to get in contact now with one of our knowledgeable team. Please call us on 0370 1500 100, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Mediation Support Service – 30-Minute Consultation

Family mediation can be a less confrontational and more cost-effective way to resolve a dispute. We offer a 30-minute consultation with one of our solicitors to discuss your situation and if mediation is right for you.

If you decide to go ahead with mediation, you can benefit from our cost effective mediation support service. This service will give you the advice, support and tools to get the best possible outcome – particularly if you’re representing yourself.

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Child Relocation - More Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Consideration Do You Need To Give To An Ex-Partner Before Relocating?

Being able to relocate just because your child lives (or spends the majority of their time) with you is a common misconception in cases of child relocation.

If you wish to relocate your child  abroad you need to get permission from your ex-partner before moving. You may need their permission if you wish to relocate within the UK and you should talk to a specialist lawyer before doing so.

In cases where permission hasn't been granted, you can make an application for a Court Order to relocate. It’s important this process is followed, as if you relocate without permission, the court can order that you return. This can carry both financial and emotional implications.

Generally speaking, the court has adopted a much more consistent approach to relocation in recent years (both for relocations within the UK, and relocations overseas). In 2016, the senior courts said that the decision whether or not to permit the relocation of a child must be based on the child’s welfare.

If you’re thinking of relocating, please contact our specialist family law team. You can either get in touch with us online or call us on 0370 1500 100 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Can I Challenge My Ex-Partner, If They Wish To Relocate My Child?

Yes. If you haven’t given permission for your child to be relocated, your ex-partner must apply for a Court Order. The court will then review your case and will make a decision based on your child’s welfare.

If your partner has relocated your child without your consent or a Court Order, you can apply to the court. If the court agrees with you, your ex-partner can be ordered to return.

However, even if you don’t wish to challenge a relocation, it can still be worth seeking legal advice.

Child maintenance is calculated by reference to the number of nights that your child spends with you, so if this is to change as a result of the relocation, then your maintenance payments may increase.

If your child is being relocated abroad, there are further issues to consider. For example, agreements made in the UK may not be valid in the country being relocated to.

Our solicitors can help you challenge a relocation, or to protect your rights if your child is moving to another country. Please call us on 0370 1500 100 or contact us online for more information.

What If My Child Has Been Relocated Without My Consent?

If your ex-partner has relocated your child within the UK, but without your consent or a Court Order giving them permission, you can apply to the court for them to be returned. The court has the power to order your ex-partner to move back if they cannot demonstrate that the relocation was in the best interests of the child.

If your child was relocated to another country without your consent or a court order, this is classed as child abduction. In these situations a number of international agreements exist to protect the rights of parents. It’s important to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible, as delaying could go against your case.

Our lawyers are experienced in successfully reuniting parents with their children – following relocations within the UK or abroad. We can also help parents who have relocated their children and now need to defend against allegations of child abduction or an application for the child to be returned.

If you have any further questions regarding child relocation after divorce, please call us on 0370 1500 100 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

I live in Scotland, can Irwin Mitchell help me?

Our expert family law team works with a number of trusted partners to help our clients with family law issues in Scotland.

We’ll be your point of contact and manage the entire process for you throughout. You’ll get frequent progress updates and we’ll break down any legal jargon into plain English so you’re always in the loop.

To find out more about how we can help, give us a call on 0370 1500 100 or contact us online.

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The team's breadth of family knowledge and expertise is matched by the resources to deliver a quality service in a timely manner"
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Kids in the middle

Proud to support Kids in the Middle

Kids in the Middle is a charity which aims to help children whose parents are going through, or have gone through a divorce.

As a lead partner of the charity, we’re making sure that the views of children are heard when decisions are being made which concern their welfare.

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