After separation, often one parent will want to move away from the place where the family live together, perhaps for support from that parent’s family or friends, for employment opportunity or to start over in a more familiar place. In family law this is called relocation.
The relocation will often make it more difficult for the other parent to spend time with, and be a part of their child’s life. The parent who wants to relocate should not just leave without consulting the other parent first.
If you find yourself in this circumstance you should approach the other parent about your proposed relocation. Your proposal should describe:
- is the other parent welcome to see the children in the new proposed location?
- how the children will spend lime with the other parent – e.g. longer periods in school holiday time?
- where you will reside with the children and what schools they will attend
- means of regular communication e.g. telephone, facetime, skype etc. and how often?
If you can agree you should either enter into a parenting plan or new Orders before you move. At the very least you should obtain the other parent’s consent in writing before you leave.
If you can’t agree on new arrangements the proper alternative is to approach a court for permission to go. This can take a long time. The Court may not expedite the hearing of the issues on the basis of your proposal to relocate.
If you are the parent staying and anticipate that your former partner is about to relocate without your consent, you need to negotiate on the new arrangements or commence court proceedings quickly, to restrain your former partner from relocating with the children.
When determining issues like this the court’s paramount consideration will always be what is in the best interests of the child. The court will not always grant permission. It will look at the competing proposals and then decide if:
- Both parents should remain in the current location;
- The children may relocate with the relocating parent.
- Both parents moving to the proposed new location;
- The relocating parent moving, and the children remaining with the other parent.