A divorce or separation can often leave a parent feeling lonely and isolated, especially so if they have family abroad. Many may feel the need for a change by moving to a new country, or simply some may need to move abroad for employment reasons or because they now have met a new partner.
Where children are involved, choosing to move to a new country is difficult, especially when the other parent resides in the UK.
Both parents have Parental Responsibility and therefore have an automatic right to participate in major decisions concerning the child. If both parents can reach an agreement and resolve the time that the child will spend with “the left behind parent”, then such an agreement can be embodied in a final Order without the need to resort to court. Parents should attempt mediation and/or collaboration in the first instance to resolve this difficult issue.
If agreement cannot be reached, then Shortlands’ expert lawyers, who have had years of experience in dealing with such cases in respect of various countries, can assist by offering expert advice. First and foremost, the law wants to ensure that the decision to relocate is one that is in the interests of the child. The law will seek to ensure that “the leaving parent” has thought through the process in detail by looking at how the child’s education, environment, social integration and economic security will be affected. Further, the time that the child will spend with “the left behind parent” will need to be addressed in detail.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do we decide what time the children will spend with each parent?
Talk to one another. Try to agree arrangements that best suit the children, that they will be comfortable with and that take into account their interests.
If we cannot agree child issues, what should we do?
Have an initial meeting with a lawyer to explore the law and your rights. Then attempt mediation or collaboration.
I live abroad, so where do I apply for an Order?
The Country in which the child has been living for the past year.
What does the court consider when making a decision about how much time the child will spend with each parent?
First and foremost the Court is concerned with the Child’s interest and welfare. An arrangement will be reached that best suits the child’s welfare.
How long does the court process take?
Between three to twelve months
What is the cost involved?
The cost varies depending on the complexity of the case. At Shortlands we try to offer fixed fees for every stage of the process.
Our professional and highly experienced team of family law can assist you in your legal matters with full respect, ensuring you maintain a private family life. Begin the process today by submitting a confidential request, filling in the form below. We will respond to you shortly.