When relationships breakdown it can involve significant change and adjustment to new routines for the whole family. Quite often a separating spouse may want to move to another town, city, state, or country in order to have the support of their extended family during this difficult time or for work opportunities. Where a parent intends to move with their children this is referred to as a “relocation” by the Family Court. If moving is going to impact on the time the children will spend with a parent, the parent moving must seek the consent of the other parent to the relocation or seek the permission of the Court to do so.
Generally if a parent decides to just up and move without consulting the other parent and the other parent objects to the children being relocated the court will not look favourably upon the parent relocating. This can have an impact on the final outcome as to who the children should ultimately live with and how they spend time with a parent. Particularly if the move cannot be justified by reason of a threat to the children or the parent.
If you do wish to relocate you should speak to the other parent about your move and what it would involve. You should try to reach an agreement which accommodates your move and both parents ability to spend time with the children. Maybe an agreement can be reached where the children live during the school term with one parent in a certain location and spend the school holidays with the other in another location. Maybe the other parent will also consider moving.
Similarly if you are planning on taking an overseas holiday you should seek the consent of the other parent. If your child does not have a current passport written consent is required by all parties with parental responsibility for the child. If a parent has grave concerns that a parent may take the children overseas without their permission they can seek orders from the court preventing the child from leaving the country and can also place a child’s name on the Australian Federal Police Airport Watch List.
In circumstances where a parent has unilaterally relocated with a child without the other parent’s consent, whether or not there is a parenting order in place the court can issue a recovery order requiring a child to be returned. A recovery order is a request directed to all Federal, state and territory police to find and recover a child and return the child into the care of a parent.
At all times when seeking orders from the court regarding the relocation and recovery of children the court will consider what is in the child’s best interest.
Essentially DO NOT MOVE UNLESS YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO DO SO, either from the other parent or from the court.
For any queries on this please contact Family Lawyer Tamlyn Leahy on 40461135