A parent may wish to relocate within the UK after the divorce or separation and take their children with them

Relocating within the United Kingdom – Internal Relocation

The best for your children We encourage parents to place their children's needs at the heart of the process

 

It is not uncommon for a parent to want to relocate to another part of the UK with a child following a separation. It may be that a parent wishes to be closer to their family and support network or needs to relocate in order to find work and afford a home. As with external relocation – a move away from the UK – these cases are often challenged by the other parent who may foresee a change in their relationship with their child because of the geographical distance involved.

At Family Law in Partnership we are widely recognised for our expertise in advising parents on the relocation of children within the jurisdiction. Whether our clients seek our advice to reach an agreement with the other parent or find themselves making or defending a Court application, our team of experienced family lawyers are able to guide and support our clients through the relevant process.

Questions that clients commonly ask us about moving within the UK with their children include:

  1. I want to relocate with my children to another part of the UK. Do I need the consent of the other parent? Where there is a Child Arrangements Order in force which specifically states with whom the children will live, there is no need for that parent to obtain permission from the other parent if they wish to relocate elsewhere in the UK (as long as contact can still take place). Similarly, where there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, an application to the court for permission to relocate with the child is not required provided the other parent does not object to the move. The position differs considerably in comparison to a move outside the UK – see External Relocation. If the other parent objects to the move, however, the parent wishing to relocate with the child will need to make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order. If a parent wishes to object to the proposed move an application for a Prohibited Steps Order should be made. If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, the parent opposing the move may also make an application to the Court requesting that a condition be placed on the Child Arrangements Order regarding the specific place where the child is to reside. This will however only be applied in exceptional circumstances.
  2. How long will it take to get the Court’s permission? The process can take quite a long time (because of the relatively slow speed of the Court) usually a minimum of six months and sometimes a bit longer. However the process can occasionally be completed more quickly if it is an emergency.
  3. If there is no Child Arrangements Order in place and the other parent does not agree to my moving away with children, how long will it take to get the Court’s permission? The process can take quite a long time (because of the relatively slow speed of the Court) – usually a minimum of six months, and sometimes quite a bit longer. However, the process can occasionally be completed more quickly if it is an emergency.
  4. How much notice do I need to give? There is no minimum notice period required but, as explained above, if consent is not forthcoming from your former partner and a Court application is necessary, the process can take quite a long time.
  5. What do I need to show to get the Court’s permission? These types of application are not straightforward – the ramifications for the children are significant. The intended move needs to be thoroughly and carefully prepared. It is much better to have a well considered plan before you actually apply to the Court. Broadly, you will need to show that the intended relocation is well thought through and is in the child’s best interests. You will need to be able to demonstrate a plan for how the children will maintain a meaningful relationship with the parent being left behind, to include spending time with them.
  6. How do we manage school holidays? I still want a holiday with the children and don’t want all of their holiday time to be taken up with them visiting their other parent. This is the sort of thing that would need to be considered and addressed as part of the process of obtaining the Court’s permission to relocate. The Court is likely to want to ensure that the children get to spend holiday time with their other parent. However, you should be entitled to take holidays with the children too.
  7. How much will it cost? It is difficult to say how much it might cost to secure permission to relocate with the children – each case is different. If your plans are well thought through and meet the needs of the children (to including spending time with the other parent), the other parent’s consent might be secured more easily than you may think. If the consent is not forthcoming and a formal Court application is required, the costs can be quite significant – so it is essential that matters are prepared and planned well and efficiently.