Can I move with my children?

31 May 2024 | Kesha Pabari

Table of Contents

Am I allowed to relocate with the children within England and Wales?

Relocating within England and Wales, even if this is from North to South London, is often considered as an internal relocation by the Family Court.

If you, as a parent, relocate outside of the jurisdiction of England and Wales with the children, without consent from everybody who has Parental Responsibility, you would be committing child abduction, which is a criminal offence.

Things to consider before an Internal relocation

Although Internal relocation does not carry criminal consequences, there are still lots of things to consider before doing so, and the consequences could still be severe. For example, there is the risk that you would be required to return to the place you have relocated from, which is something the court can order you to do.

The concern with internal relocation is usually where there is a change to contact/living arrangements with the other parent and also to the children’s schooling. For example, if you and your former partner currently share the child arrangements, including weekdays, this is likely to be an issue.

Ultimately, if your former partner refuses to consent to any relocation, you will need to make an application with the Court. The principles the court uses to determine whether you should be allowed to go are the same for both international and internal relocation.

Welfare of the children

The primary consideration is on the welfare of the children. In considering this, the welfare checklist will be used. This includes:

  • the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of their age and understanding);
  • their physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • the likely effect on him of any change in their circumstances;
  • their age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
  • any harm which they have suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  • how capable each of their parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting their needs; and
  • the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.

These cases can be extremely challenging. They are considered ‘high stake’ proceedings, given their binary nature (either the court will determine that you can go or can’t go), and this can be difficult to deal with emotionally.

With this in mind, and given the cost of court proceedings, it is particularly important to seek independent legal advice from the outset when considering a relocation.

If you would like more information regarding relocation, or any other aspect of negotiating the child arrangements upon separation, please contact the Osbornes Law children team. Our experienced team of legal professionals are here to help explain how best you can navigate any issues that you might be facing upon separation. Contact us today to find out more.

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