After a separation or divorce, it is not uncommon to want to move on. Sometimes that looks like moving away from where the family unit was situated. Rising living costs, employment opportunities, entering a new relationship, the need to care for other dependents or relatives and enhanced family support are all reasons why parents start planning to relocate with their children after a break-up.

Legalities of relocation

When a parent moves the children away from their usual residence without the agreement of the other parent, contention and difficulty can arise. If parents cannot agree about the children relocating, a Court order is required. The Court can make orders permitting the children to relocate, or it can make orders which restrict where the children live.

If there is no consent from the other parent or a Court order allowing a relocation and a parent moves the children away, there is significant risk that a Court might order the children to return to the previous location. Relocation applications are difficult to predict or determine - so it’s critical that you’ve got experience behind you when confronted with these scenarios.

We’re experts in steering clients through the complexities of relocation applications. We have successfully advised and represented many clients in domestic and international relocation cases, helping them to relocate with their children to a different location or to prevent their spouse from relocating the children.

Navigating relocation matters

Whether you’re craving a fresh start or your ex-partner has stated a wish to move the children to a new town or city, it can be very challenging to balance everyone’s competing needs and interests when physical distance is in the mix.

Relocation cases require considered legal navigation and strategy. When there is a clash of interests - like ensuring the children can maintain strong connections to both parents versus respecting a person’s freedom of movement - you need to understand not only the legal implications of the situation but also the potential risks or pitfalls that might be looming ahead. We help you to carefully plan and map out the road to be travelled when contemplating a relocation, whether if you’re seeking or opposing a relocation of the children.

If you are considering moving or your former partner is, early advice can make a difference to protecting your legal rights and the eventual outcome. Our guidance is under-pinned by expert knowledge of the legal principles and case law relating to relocations. We recognise the need and suitability of negotiation or dispute resolution with your former partner, to help get you to your agreed destination.

Our approach to relocation matters

Parker Coles Curtis adopts a strategic and holistic approach to relocation matters, which includes:

  • Understanding your situation: We start with a deep analysis of your circumstances and the plans for the proposed relocation. Beyond canvassing and assessing the logistics we involved, we will workshop with you how the relocation might, or might not, benefit the interests and well-being of the overall family.
  • Expert negotiation: We prioritise out-of-Court options including mediation or negotiation, wherever that is possible and safe. We can help you prepare before, or represent you at, alternate dispute resolution. This can assist you to reach an early, amicable agreement that supports your child's best interests.
  • Legal representation: If an agreement cannot be reached, our team is prepared to represent you in Court. We can skilfully present a compelling case for you, based on thorough evidence, decades of experience and our in-depth knowledge of legal precedent.

Success in relocation matters

Our firm has a distinguished record of assisting clients with both interstate and international relocations. We've successfully negotiated and litigated favourable outcomes. Our expertise in this area ensures that your case is handled with the sensitivity and the careful planning it deserves.

FAQs

What factors do courts consider in relocation cases?

In the same way as all other parenting cases are determined. That means working out what is in the best interests of the children.

There is no ‘special’ category of factors the Court has to consider in deciding a relocation, and there is no requirement for the Court to deal with relocation as a discrete issue outside other parenting issues. The Court is required to consider all options when a parent is seeking to relocate with the children, not just the proposals of each of the parents involved.

When deciding what is in the children’s best interests, the Court considers various factors, including the child’s right to maintain relationships with both parents and their best interests. It draws upon 6 primary factors under the Family Law Act and the principles underlying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As these factors are weighed alongside an individual’s right to freedom of movement, or issues of safety and risk which may be present, relocation cases are often very finely balanced. The ‘reasons’ for the proposed move may be multi-faceted and complicated. We help you present your reasons for wanting to move with the children effectively through this framework, or to critically defend the reasons the other parent is providing for a proposed relocation, so can safeguard your preferred outcome.

Can I relocate with my child without the other parent's consent?

Relocating without the other parent's consent or a Court order can have serious legal implications. It's essential to seek legal advice to explore your options and follow the proper legal procedures. Every situation is different, so it is important to obtain tailored legal advice, unique to your circumstances.

How can I increase my chances of a successful relocation case?

Demonstrating that the relocation is in the child's best interests and explaining how the children’s relationships with the parent who is ‘left behind’ will be continued, can assist. Obtaining legal and strategic advice which is bespoke to you and your family is key though, as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approaches taken here.

A relocation requires several major adjustments for a child, such as a change of home and school. This desire to avoid instability for children is one of the reasons the Court can be circumspect when deciding a relocation application.

Take time to think through those major changes that lie ahead. Consider and explain how the children’s education, health, social and other needs could be met in the new location, as well as other supports they might need to adjust to a big life change. It’s important to not be speculative, but detailed, clear and specific about how the children’s welfare will be improved by a relocation.

Delay can also be problematic in relocation cases. If you need or want to move away with the children, talk to us about the likely timeframes and options of being able to move on an urgent basis. If you discover that the other parent is taking steps to move away, or has already moved with the children without your agreement or a Court Order, you must act quickly. Allowing time to pass can be detrimental to securing the return of the children in the short or long term.

Why work with us?

  • Specialised expertise: We have focused expertise in family law, particularly in relocation matters, ensures that you receive knowledgeable and effective representation.
  • Proven track record: We have a proven track record of successful outcomes – on both sides of the dispute - in both interstate and international relocation cases. You can be confident and assured that you’re in the best of hands in this tricky situation.
  • Client-centred service: We are committed to understanding and addressing your unique needs, supporting you through every step of the process. We are frank, fearless and straight-talking in advising and representing you.

Planning for relocation

If you are contemplating relocation or facing the challenges a relocation by your former partner and the children, we’re here to guide and support you. Let us help you navigate this complex legal landscape, ensuring that your rights are protected, and your family's future is secure. Contact us to discuss how we can assist in achieving a successful outcome for your relocation case.

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