Family Law Solicitors Newcastle and Sunderland

Removing a child to live abroad, seek expert guidance quickly

At Emmersons Expert Family Law Solicitors, we are here to provide you with expert guidance quickly and clearly, hopefully reducing any worry or stress should this situation arise.

These days we live in a mobile and multi-cultural society. When parents separate increasingly we are faced with not just disputes about with whom the children should live and how much time they should spend with each parent but decisions over whether one parent should be permitted to move away with the children either within the UK or abroad.

These are often some of the most difficult decisions for parents and the courts. There can be various reasons for this upheaval, such as wanting to return to a home country to access support from family and friends, being offered the job of a lifetime or just seeking a fresh start. The upset to the children and the left behind parent cannot be underestimated nor can the impact on the parent wishing to relocate if they are forced to remain.

Leave To Remove
If you wish to emigrate and take your child outside of England and Wales you will need to obtain the consent of the other parent. Should the other parent refuse to consent you will need to make a court application for permission to Remove the Child From The Jurisdiction.

The court’s view on this issue is that the welfare of the child is paramount.  Case law shows that if the court considers that the application is ill prepared, inadequately researched or places insufficient attention to practicalities then it is likely to fail.  It is also likely to fail if it is evident that the parent wishing to move is doing so in order to frustrate contact between the child and the other parent. If you are looking to relocate outside of England and Wales the court will specifically look at the following:

  • Is your application “genuine” in the sense that it is not “motivated by some selfish desire” to exclude the child(rens) other parent from their life? If so, the application must be “realistic” and “founded on practical proposals”, as well as being “well researched and investigated”.
  • If the point above is satisfied, the court should then consider whether the child(rens) other parent is opposing the application because of a genuine concern for the child(rens) welfare or for selfish reasons. If the application was granted, the court must consider the effect this would have on the child(rens) relationship with the left behind parent.
  • What would be the effect on you if your application is refused?

Evidence in support of your application will need to contain your reasons for wanting to relocate, information about your accommodation in the new country, details of schools and other educational arrangements that you propose to make for the child(ren). You must be able to show that the proposed relocation is financially viable, that you have considered any immigration or visa issues, how childcare will be organised in the new country, your links to the new country, healthcare arrangements in the new country, the child(ren)’s knowledge and experience of the new country, if any.

Crucially your evidence needs to demonstrate your commitment to promoting the best possible relationship between the child(ren) and the other parent in the event of your successful relocation. The practical arrangements you will make to ensure that regular direct and indirect contact takes places need to be set out in detail with an explanation of how that contact will be funded. How often will you bring your child(ren) back to the UK? Do you have funds to pay for flights? Can you pay for the other parent to fly out to see your child(ren)?

Until relatively recently, the parent with primary care for the child could usually relocate anywhere in the England and Wales, except in very rare circumstances. But nowadays the courts apply the same principles to internal relocation applications as they do in international ones. The courts believe the two should be consistent.

Each case is different and it is always advisable to seek the assistance of a Family Law Specialist if you are looking to relocate within or outside of England and Wales. Be aware that your child(rens) other parent is able to make an emergency application to the court in order to prevent or delay your move if you have plans to relocate.

In the first instance you should discuss your proposed move with your child(rens) other parent. It is better not to shock them. At Emmersons Solicitors, our Family Law Departments, based in Newcastle and Sunderland, are able to provide tailored advice specific to your case.
You should seek legal advice quickly if you want to oppose a move or one is sprung upon you. This will enable us to put forward your case as thoroughly and quickly as possible.

If you would like your child(ren) to come and live with you instead of moving abroad then you will need to convince a court that you have put in place plans; does your child(ren) need to move to a school near your home?

If they are young who will care for them if you are at work?
Do you have enough bedrooms at your home?

If you need advice about Removing a child to live abroad then why not make an appointment with one of our Experienced Family Law Solicitors. We offer fixed fee interviews to enable you to find out where you stand as quickly as possible.

Client Feedback:

“After being in the legal field and having rubbed shoulders with the cream of the crop of firms, I decided to use a local firm myself for child contact issues. I met your lawyer who was extremely well versed in this format of law. He was a good listener and kept the whole process as simple and diplomatic as possible. I would never have known he was a Trainee, he seems to be working the circuit like an old pro. Thanks guys for all of your help, regards Usman”.


If you need help with your divorce or separation, then why not contact us for a Next Steps Divorce Advice Session and to see how we can help you. We can be contacted on:

Family Law Specialists Solicitors Newcastle:  0191 284 6989

Family Law Specialists Solicitors Sunderland: 0191 567 6667

or email us:

Or complete our Online Enquiry Form and select Family Law

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