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Relocation and leaving the UK

Internal relocation

Where there is a Residence Order in place a child cannot be removed from the UK without the consent of those with Parental Responsibility (PR). A parent with a Residence Order in their favour can take a child out of the UK for a period of up to one month (but no longer) without the consent of those with PR.

If a parent wishes to relocate internally i.e within the UK then they may apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order. For any parent making an application to relocate it is important that they provide clear and detailed information about the proposed move. This would include the following:-

  • Where they will live with the child;
  • Costs of relocation;
  • Potential schools for the child together with literature and brochures supporting their choices;
  • Their motivation for the move;
  • Proposed contact for the child and the non resident parent.

Overseas Relocation

In some cases a parent may wish to move to a different country outside of the UK with their child, either because they may originate from that country, have been offered a job there or simply believe that the a better standard of living and quality of life is on offer. If this is the case then the parent wanting to relocate must seek the consent of the other parent.

If there is no agreement then an application must be made to the Court for permission to take the child to live abroad permanently. This is known as an application for leave to remove. As with all other applications to the Court that involve a child, the paramount consideration for the Court will be the welfare of the child.

If a parent has PR but there is no Residence Order in place in their favour and they remove a child from the UK without the consent or permission of the other parent then this would be classed as wrongful removal. The other parent could apply for the child to be returned under the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Again, cases concerning international relocation will be considered in accordance with the welfare of the child.

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