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How to relocate with your children after a divorce

Posted on 13 December 2021

How to relocate with your children when you share parental responsibility

Posted in Advice

Since March 2020 a lot of us have began to scrutinise the way we live and think about the work/life balance that exists in our lives. New careers have been forged where there is no longer a reliance on being situated in an office. House moves from city to rural locations have constituted a vast number of conveyancing transactions with the additional attraction of the stamp duty holiday that was in place until September 2021.

Can you move with your children after a divorce?

But what for families where there are children who do not live with both parents – is it as easy for those children to 'get up and go?' Unless both parents who have parental responsibility for the children agree to one parent relocating either internally (within the UK) or externally (outside of the UK), permission from the court has to be sought. This means that the parent who would like to spread their wings with their children, and potentially a new partner, will have to make an application for the court to decide.

The law on internal and external relocation was once treated differently but the law has now become more settled and easier to apply.

Case precedents on relocating with children

In 2015 a case known as Re C was heard in the Court of Appeal. The mother had applied for permission to move their daughter from London to Cumbria and was granted permission. The father was unhappy with the courts decision and appealed to the Court of Appeal. His appeal was dismissed. As a result of that case very clear guidance has been given about the principles that should be applied to applications for internal relocation. In particular the Judge said that there should be no distinction between cases involving the relocation of a child within or outside of the jurisdiction.

Putting children first

The decision in either case hangs ultimately on the welfare of the child. Each parent will have very strong wishes and feelings about moving or preventing a move and whilst they are of great importance it is only in the context of evaluating and determining the welfare of the child.

Jobs, life ambitions or needing to care for elderly parents may be the reason for relocating with your children. In the absence of the other parent’s agreement then inevitably court proceedings may prevail. Fortunately, the law is now simpler to determine what would better serve the welfare of the child.

If you are thinking of making plans to move away with your children and you need to seek permission from you ex partner please speak to us for family legal advice  before putting too many plans in place.