Can I relocate with the Children? How far is too far?

We have recently had increased inquiries from parents, asking whether they are able to relocate with their Children, whether that be within the state, interstate or overseas.

The short answer to that question is that should the relocation be interstate or overseas, the consent of the other parent is needed prior to the move, in light of both parents having equal shared parental responsibility as to the long term care, welfare and development of the Children.

In regards to moves within the State, there is no rule of thumb or formula as to what distance from a parent’s current home is an appropriate distance to move and one in which the consent of the other parent is required.

In determining whether a move should take place, we are often asked, “how far is too far?” In answer to this question, the ultimate factor is how the relocation will affect the Children and whether the move is in their best interests, a major issue being to consider how such move will affect the relationship of the Children with each parent. This is taking into consideration the parent who remains behind and any impact such a move will have upon the frequency and quality of time being spent together.

Whilst there are no strict requirements which must be satisfied to be successful in the Court allowing a relocation, some of the common issues which are considered when determining whether a relocation should occur are as follows:

If the relocation is due to employment reasons, is similar employment available closer to home;

The support (emotional and financial) of family and friends in the proposed place of residence compared with the current place of residence;

Whether the other parent is able to also relocate and what ties that parent may have to the current place of residence.

Whilst the Court cannot inhibit the freedom of a parent should they wish to move, they can prevent a Child from relocating, however, in saying this, the impact upon the parent is a consideration, should they be unable to relocate.

Should a parent have already relocated within Australia, the parent who remains behind may initiate Court proceedings seeking a Recovery Order for the return of the Children.

In circumstances where a parent may have already relocated overseas, it may be possible to initiate a process to have the Children returned pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Hague Convention”), such process enabling a Child to be returned (provided that the Child has been taken to a Country which is a member of the Hague Convention).

Should you be considering relocation, should your former spouse be considering relocation with the Children or should your former spouse and Children already have relocate, contact our office for a free fifteen minute telephone discussion with one of our Solicitors, so we may assist you further.

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