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Relocating with your child within the UK

Relocating with your child after a divorce or separation is a hugely emotive subject and is often fraught with difficulty. There’s a variety of reasons why it happens. It may be that one parent is offered a new job in a different part of the country, or they want to return to a part of the country where they have family and friends. Here’s some of the questions you might want to ask:

Are there any restrictions in relocating our child?

Unlike taking a child abroad, there’s no automatic restriction on moves within the UK. Primarily, the child’s welfare is the key factor for the courts, but it will also consider the practicalities of each parent’s proposal, the motivation of the parents and the proposals for maintaining a relationship with the non-moving parent.

What will the court consider if I apply to relocate our child?

The welfare of the child is the court’s main consideration. The court will listen to proposals put forward by both parents and carry out a welfare analysis. It will also consider a range of factors, including the practical arrangements, the motivation of the parent proposing to relocate, the ability for a relationship to be maintained with the other parent and the child’s view.

How can I reach an agreement with my ex to relocate our child?

Obviously, the best way to do this is to discuss it and come to an amicable arrangement which suits you both, but we realise this isn’t always possible. Alternatively, you may need the help of a mediation service, which involves a third party to help you come to an agreement. As members of Resolution, Russell and Russell’s family team are committed to helping parents deal with matters in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. If you’re still unable to reach an agreement, or if you’re concerned about a proposed move and whether it’s in the best interests of your child, you may need to make an application to the court to obtain a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

What is a specific issue order?

A specific issue order is an order that determines a specific question that has arisen in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child. For example, it can be used to clarify issues about a child’s upbringing, including choice of school, the child’s religion or any medical treatment.

What is a prohibited steps order?

A prohibited steps order prevents either parent carrying out something that is against the wishes of the other parent by imposing certain restrictions. For example, changing a child's surname or moving a child from the UK.

Who can apply for an order?

Anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a court order. This isn’t just limited to the child’s mother or father, other people, such as grandparents, can apply too, but they’ll need to get permission from the court first.

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