Legal Q&A: Child Relocation

Q. My son’s mother wants to move to London with my son, can she do that and if so, what can I do?

A. There is no current legislation that prevents a parent relocating their child from one area of the UK to another. Should you wish to contest the relocation, an application would need to be made to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order. This will be in the form of a Prohibited Steps Order preventing the mother from relocating to London with your son. It should be noted however that the Court’s approach to such applications is somewhat hesitant. The Courts are reluctant to place a restriction on a parent’s freedom to choose where they wish to live. In order for a Court to prohibit a parent who has main care of the child from relocating, an “exceptionality test” will need to be satisfied.  This will include: any issues or concerns surrounding the parent’s competence with whom the child will live; any disability of the child and how travel will impact upon this; the extent of any detriment or upset this would cause to the child as a result of moving away from the other parent; and reasons as to why the parent is relocating.  Ultimately, the Court’s principal concern in deciding whether relocation should be prohibited revolves around the child’s welfare.   

If you would like further advice, please contact Lesley Knight at Hegarty Solicitors on 01733 295 620 or email lesley.knight@hegarty.co.uk.