How do the family Courts approach international relocation with children?

Post by: Charley Cook 24/02/2020 0 comments 107 views

International disputes over where a child shall live following separation of the parents is now becoming more common.

There is recent case law where a British father and Taiwanese mother lived with their five year old daughter in Belgium, the parents had a disagreement regarding the child’s haircut whilst they were on holiday and the mother refused to return to Belgium with their daughter, instead they came to the UK.

The father issued an application under the Hague Convention for the daughter’s return to Belgium. This was granted and the child’s welfare was determined in Belgium.

These sorts of cases usually arise when one party wishes to return to their home and extended family, a new partner or maybe for a new job opportunity. If both parents hold parental responsibility for the child then this must be consented to by both or ultimately must be decided by the Court. Mediation can be explored, but agreement must be reached for the relocation to happen.

The leading case of Payne has now been reviewed by Re F (a child) (International Relocation Case) [2015] EWCA Civ 882, [2017] 1 FLR 979 where the Payne principles are still factors, but the Court must now take a view on the whole picture and be fact specific and of course, the child’s welfare is paramount. The Court will also look at parent motivation. If it is motivated by trying to frustrate the relationship between the child and the non-resident parent, it is unlikely the application will be granted.

Examples of what needs to be considered are:-

  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Language barriers
  • Employment
  • Contact with the other parent and how this would be facilitated
  • Wishes and feelings of the child

Here at Ringrose Law our specialised children team can give you that legal advice. Whether you are wishing to relocate, or whether you are looking for advice on your child potentially relocating with the other parent.

Please contact Charley Cook or a member of the children team at any of our offices; Spalding, Boston, Lincoln, Newark, Grantham and Sleaford.


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