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An area of litigation relating to children which is increasing generally and one which we specialise in at TWM concerns relocation of children to other countries.

There is an ever increasing number of family units with an international element. There has been a significant rise in cross border migration and it is now the nature of modern life that parents of a child may have different countries of origin.

Where relationships breakdown we are seeing situations where one parent wishes to move overseas with the children. Unless consent is given by the other parent , an application must be made to court for leave to remove the children from the jurisdiction.

There may be all sorts of reasons why a parent wishes to return to their homeland, or any other country, but clearly a significant one is to return to blood family which may offer financial as well as emotional support.

These are difficult cases for a Judge to decide and for the parent opposing the application, he, and it is often the father, is aware of the risk that all contact with his children may be lost.

There have been a number of notable cases providing guidance on how these matters should be approached. Until more recently the court has placed great weight on the reasonable wishes of the parent who wishes to relocate, but the emphasis has shifted and the current guidelines states that in all applications concerning international relocation the best interests of the child should be the paramount consideration and decisions should not be based on any presumptions for or against relocation.

Cases need to be well constructed from the start. The parent intending to make the application must prepare a detailed plan in support of the proposed move providing practical arrangements, including accommodation, schooling and employment as well as setting out their commitment to support and facilitate the relationship between the children and the respondent after relocation.

We are happy to advise anyone contemplating making such an application and will represent them where the matter is opposed.

For further information please contact