Today’s generation lives in a world which encourages international movement and immigration. This has, quite naturally, prompted an increase in relationships between couples of different nationalities. If a relationship breaks down, what happens if one parent wants to relocate overseas and take their children with them?
There are many reasons for parents moving abroad with their children; a new job, a return to their native country, or joining family members who already live abroad.
When a family unit breaks down, one of the most difficult challenges any parent faces is to establish a regular routine for their children to spend time with both parents. It is generally considered to be in the best interests of a child to enjoy a fully functioning relationship with both of their parents.
If one parent wishes to move abroad with their children, it is usually necessary to seek assistance and guidance from the court. Even if the other parent initially agrees to the relocation, there is nothing to stop them changing their mind and withdrawing their consent at the last minute.
When determining whether the children should be allowed to move abroad with one of their parents, the deciding factor will be whether the relocation would be in the best interests of the children. The children's welfare is the paramount consideration of the court and is always at the forefront of the court's mind. However, the court will also consider the respective situations of each parent and, in particular, why one of the parents wants to move abroad. Are they genuinely trying to improve the quality of their children’s lives, or are they attempting to disrupt and frustrate the children’s relationship with their other parent?
A move abroad does not necessarily prevent children spending time with their other parent or extended family members remaining in this country. The growth of the internet has opened up many methods of ensuring there can be regular contact between children and family members, such as FaceTime, Skype and e-mail. Regular long haul air travel is no longer the reserve of the rich and famous and consistent face to face contact with family members living abroad is much easier to facilitate now than it was a few years ago.