What happens when your ex wants to move away with the children – perhaps also with a new partner – and you object?
We’ve supported a number of clients – mothers and fathers – through this kind of situation, both when they have been concerned about a partner moving away with the kids or when they are the one wanting to move away with their family. Having advised them through their divorce, we are their first port of call when they want to embark on a new beginning in a different area, which may be several years later. Thankfully, most of our past clients understand the importance of seeking professional advice early and they usually approach us for an initial chat before broaching the subject with the other parent.
What are my rights?
If your children live with your partner and he or she wants to move to another part of England and Wales, we would advise them to seek your agreement to the move and not to simply announce that they’re leaving. If you do not agree with the proposed move, your ex may ask the court to make the decision about whether or not they should be allowed to move.
One parent does have the right to try and stop the other from moving and may seek a court order from the court to prevent it from happening. Such an order would prevent the child from moving with until the court has considered the case.
It is far better to talk to your ex first and see if you can reach an agreement by working out how your children will be able to continue to have time with both parents after the move.
What if I’m the one moving? How can I persuade the courts to let me move away with the children?
If you and your ex can’t reach an agreement amicably, you will need to demonstrate to the court that the relocation is in the best interests of the children. You might be moving for a better job or for a more financially secure future with another partner. It may be a better area that offers your children more opportunities for recreation and schooling. You could be moving to be closer to relatives, in which case the children will benefit from a wider family unit. All of these can be valid reasons and may persuade the court to find in your favour.
The court will want to make sure the children’s relationship with the other parent doesn’t suffer. That doesn’t mean it needs to stay exactly the same. It’s impractical to maintain visits every weekend when there might be a distance of several hundred miles to consider. The children will also want to build their own social life locally at the weekends and this could be hampered if they are required to travel to stay with their other parent too frequently. A good compromise can be to arrange longer stays during the school holidays so that regular, quality contact can be maintained with both parents without interfering with the children’s everyday lives.
We won’t have covered every question about the issue of relocation in this article and if you would like to talk about your own situation please pick up the phone and give us a call. Our lawyers have a great deal of expertise in this area and we can help you even if we weren’t your solicitor during your divorce. Call us on 01423 594680.
Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.
This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.