Sometimes, after a separation, one parent is desirous of relocating with the children. Be it another suburb, another State or another country, there may be detrimental consequences if the relocation is not executed pursuant to the law. Here are some things you need to consider if you are a parent wanting a sea-change when your ex-spouse is resistant to the move.
1. Meaningful relationships
The children have a right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and they also have the right to be protected from harm. In weighing up whether a relocation with the children is the best next step, consider how you will encourage and promote a meaningful relationship between the children and the other parent. How will the children spend time and communicate with the other parent in circumstances that may be impracticable?
2. Protection from Harm
In circumstances where there are issues of Domestic Violence, you will need to ensure that you have an Order protecting you and the children from harm. If you do not have a Domestic Violence Order, what evidence do you have to support your allegations? Whilst the Family Courts in Australia may not have to follow the rules of evidence to the tee, they still apply. Can you support your assertion that the risk of harm outweighs the right of the children to have a meaningful relationship with the other parent?
3. The Unknown Factors
The Family Courts have refused to permit a relocation where there are too many unknown factors. In one case, a mother was not permitted to relocate from a country town in New South Wales to Melbourne because she was in a new relationship, her children had spent little time with the new partner, the fluidity of her living and working situation in Melbourne, her plan for more children and the fact that the children’s maternal family members lived in the country town in New South Wales. Do the unknown factors in your circumstances place the children at risk of significant damage to their relationship with the other parent?
4. Relocation Order
Relocating after separation is not impossible but where your ex-spouse is not agreeable to the move you will need an Order of the Court. An Order of the Court will not only give you peace of mind as you take the next step to move on with your life but will avoid any undesirable litigation such as an Order for Recovery of the children forcing you back to where you started.
If you want to discuss how you can relocate with your children and whether your circumstances are likely to result in a favourable Order to relocate, then contact our family lawyer Michelle Felderhof for a consultation.