Relocating with my child – can I do this?

1 April 2021
3 minutes
Family Law

Relocation is when a parent with primary care of a child wishes to move to another country or wishes to move domestically. For example, the parent may wish to move to their country of origin or move to a different town in Northern Ireland.

If a parent wishes to relocate with a child, they should firstly obtain the consent from anyone with parental responsibility, this is normally the other parent of the child. If the other party does not consent to the relocation, then you should make an application to the Court to seek permission to remove the child. This application is called a relocation application. Failure to obtain the permission of the other parent and/or the Court, could be viewed as child abduction and steps may be taken to have the child returned to the jurisdiction.

A relocation application is made under Article 8 of the Children (NI) Order 1995. The application is asking the Court to decide on the specific issue of relocating with the child i.e. whether the parent is permitted to relocate with the child.

The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration of the Court. They will want to ensure that any decision on the relocation of the child is in the child’s best interests. In order to do this, the Courts will often appoint a Court Children’s Officer (CCO) to complete a report for the Court and to make a recommendation on the application to relocate.

It is important that any application to relocate is a well thought out plan and the parent should carefully consider the following points that a Court will factor into their decision:

Why do you believe the relocation is in the child’s best interests?
What support network does the parent and the child have in the new country?
Will the parent have employment in the new country?
Where will the child live?
What school will the child attend?
What are the healthcare services for the child?
What local amenities are available for the child?
What are the contact proposals for the other parent remaining in NI? How will this be funded?

If you are considering relocating with your child, please contact the Family Law team at MKB Law to discuss further.

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice.

MKB Law is regulated by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. Content is copyright © MKB Law 2024. Terms & Conditions apply.