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  • Writer's pictureFernanda Stefani

Relocating with your Child Abroad

What happens when you want to move abroad with your child?

The parent wishing to relocate should first seek the views of the other parent, where possible and try to agree contact arrangements with them. If this is not possible, the parent can apply for:

· A specific issue order under s 8 Children Act 1989. This is available in every case.

· A free-standing leave to remove order under s 13 Children Act 1989. This is only available where a child arrangements order is in place.

Where the relocation is within the UK, the courts might be asked to regulate a relocation with one of the following orders

· A child arrangements order

· A specific issue order allowing the relocation

· A prohibited steps order preventing the child’s relocation

· A specific issue order relating to an issue such as schooling

Impact on consequent legal issues

When the proposed relocation is abroad, there are additional issues that may arise such as the enforcement of contact arrangements.

These consequent legal issues can be more or less complicated depending on whether a move is to an EU country or signatory of the 1996 Hague Convention, or not.

The welfare principle under Section 1 is the overarching principle that applies to all proceedings under the Children Act 1989.

It states that “when a court determines any question with respect to the upbringing of a child; or the administration of a child’s property or the application of any income arising from it, the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration”.

In applying the welfare principle, the court will consider a checklist of factors set out in the CA, including:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings: the older the child, the greater the weight given to them;

  • Their physical, emotional and educational needs;

  • The likely effect on the child of any change in their circumstances;

  • The age, sex, background and characteristics of the child which the court thinks is relevant;

  • Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;

  • How capable the child’s parents are in meeting the child’s needs.

The courts may also consider immigration issues, education, living arrangements, what contact arrangements will be put in place to ensure the parent continues to have contact with the child, the reasons for the relocation, the reasons for refusing relocation and the impact of refusing relocation will have on the applicant parent and how this will affect the child’s welfare.

If you want to apply for an order to relocate your child abroad or within the UK, get in touch with Child Law specialist Fernanda Stefani Araujo at


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