The question of whether a parent can leave the UK with their child can understandably be very emotional for everyone in the child’s life. During this difficult time, our specialist children law solicitors are here to provide you with advice and support.
When a child is taken outside of the country, it is often referred to as ‘removal from jurisdiction’ or ‘international relocation’.
Whether the move is intended to be temporary or permanent, neither you nor your partner can simply leave the country with your child without obtaining your ex-partner’s consent or going through a legal process. In fact, leaving without consent or authorisation could amount to child abduction which can have both civil and criminal consequences. Therefore, getting the right legal advice before making any moves is essential.
Our team of expert family law solicitors have years of experience helping families across West Yorkshire and beyond sort out their problems. We understand that disputes involving your children are likely to be upsetting and frustrating. Both you and your ex-partner likely only want what is best for the children, but agreeing on how to achieve that can feel impossible.
Our goal is to help you work through these ‘impossible’ issues to find a resolution that works for everyone. Our team includes members of Resolution, a network of family law experts who specialise in working towards constructive, non-combative solutions to even the most complicated family law issues.
Can a separated parent take their child out of the country?
There are many reasons why you or your ex-partner may want to remove your child from the jurisdiction, such as:
- You/they have family overseas that you/they want to be closer to
- You/they want to move back to your/their birth country and raise your child within that culture and language
- You/they have got a job in another country
- You/they want to go on a holiday or travel for longer than a month
Whatever the reason for the move, it is necessary to seek the consent of the other parent and anyone else with parental responsibility before removing a child from the jurisdiction. If consent is not acquired, it could be considered child abduction which can have both civil and criminal consequences. This applies whether there is a Child Arrangements Order in place or not.
What is parental responsibility?
The rights and responsibilities of looking after and raising a child are called parental responsibility. Anyone with parental responsibility has the right to have their say in decisions about the child, including whether they can be taken out of the jurisdiction.
Usually, it is just the child’s parents who have parental responsibility, but sometimes other people have it. For example, a grandparent could have it if there is a Child Arrangements Order naming that grandparent as the person the child should live with most of the time.
You do not lose parental responsibility by breaking up with your child’s other parent, even if they go to live with your ex-partner most of the time.
If you are not sure if you have parental responsibility, get in touch and we can provide advice.
How we can help you with removal from jurisdiction issues
We can help you work through any issues relating to removing a child from the jurisdiction. We regularly advise parents on both sides of the dispute – whether you are the person wanting to go overseas or the person trying to stop it from happening.
We understand that every situation is different – there will be a unique history to your relationship with your ex-partner and your child will have their own individual needs. That is why we do not apply a one-size-fits-all solution to removal from jurisdiction matters, we will provide bespoke advice that is tailored to produce the best possible result for you.
Alternative dispute resolution for international relocation matters
Our child law solicitors have a strong track record for helping families reach positive solutions as smoothly as possible. In many cases we are able to avoid court proceedings altogether, saving you lot of time, costs and stress.
We can provide advice about using alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation or collaborative law to help you sort out international relocation disputes.
Family mediation is the process of negotiating an agreement with your ex-partner with the help of an impartial mediator. The mediator’s role is not to tell you what to do or take sides, they will guide your conversations and defuse conflict wherever possible.
Our team includes qualified mediators, Clare Thornton and Amanda Gait, who are happy to provide further advice about using mediation to try to come to an agreement.
Collaborative law is like mediation except instead of a mediator, you and your ex-partner will each bring your own specialist collaborative lawyers. Your lawyer can provide legal advice and negotiate on your behalf with the aim of reaching an amicable out-of-court agreement.
Our team includes experienced collaborative lawyer, Clare Thornton, who is happy to provide further advice.
Court proceedings for international relocation matters
Out-of-court agreement isn’t always possible. It may be the case that you need an urgent decision about whether you can go abroad or to stop your ex-partner. Alternatively, it may be the case that you and your ex-partner have tried to find a compromise but cannot reach an agreement. In these cases, it may be necessary for a judge to step in and make a decision.
We can provide practical advice about going to court for order such as:
- Specific Issue Orders – to authorise you to take your child outside of the jurisdiction
- Prohibited Steps Orders – to prevent your child from being removed from the jurisdiction
The court will always make a decision that they judge is in the best interests of the child.