Relocation with Children After Separation Or Divorce
Posted: 13th March 2019
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
Managing the joint task of raising children after separation and/or divorce is critical to the long term happiness of children. A complicating factor is when relocation with children after separation or divorce becomes an issue.
How will a proposed move impact on the parenting arrangements?
How will the parent remaining be able to spend time with the children?
It is important that you take the time to discuss with the other parent a potential need to relocate. Outline the reasons for relocation and the benefits to the children. If the children live primarily with you, discuss how the children will continue to spend time with the other parent.
There is no specific guide in the Family Law Act on relocation with children after separation or divorce. Relocation must be considered in terms of what is in the best interests of the children. The Court may not give permission if the relocation would limit the time the children spend with the other parent or other significant persons in their lives.
What To Do When You Want To Relocate
Discuss the matter directly with the other parent.
Consider adjustments to the current parenting arrangements. Could the children spend more time with the other parent for more extended periods during school holidays? Who would pay the cost of travel?
Related Articles: Managing Finances After Separation
Attend Family Dispute Resolution or Mediation to assist in reaching an agreement about relocation. A third party with neutral standing can help come up with a practical arrangement that benefits the children.
If you reach an agreement with the other party, document it using a written parenting plan signed by both parents or for a more formal approach, apply to the Family Court for Consent Orders.
What To Do If You Cannot Reach Agreement On Relocation with Children after Separation or Divorce
If there is no agreement, you will need to lodge an Initiating Application in the Family Court and apply for orders to relocate with the children.
The Family Court will consider the competing proposals presented by each parent.
What are the advantages for the children and the relocating parent?
What are the advantages for the children remaining and not relocating?
It is important to understand that the Court does not automatically make an order permitting the relocation of the parent with whom the children live primarily. The Court may make an order that the children live with the other parent and spend time with you.
If you relocate without a Consent Order, a Court may require you to return the children to the other parent until the case has reached an outcome.
If there are already Orders in place, the other parent can apply to enforce the current Court Order or Consent Order. If a parent with shared parental responsibility relocates without consulting the other parent, this will be a breach of the order.