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The Other Parent is Relocating and Wants to Take Your Child – What Are Your Rights?

By July 8, 2017Family Law

The thought of living states or countries apart from your child is distressing for most parents, however following divorce or separation it is possible that this scenario may present itself. The reality is that either party has the right to ask for relocation rights – however the final decision must be made by the court if the parents can’t agree. These situations are tricky, and because of this the Family Law Act doesn’t have any specific provisions for relocation scenarios. As such, the decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, but always on the basis of what is in the best interest of the child.

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If you are opposing the relocation, you may be wondering what the court will look at when making their decision. Here are just a few areas they will consider…

The reasons for relocation

The party asking for relocation rights must show compelling reasons for moving away with the child. Common motives include improved job opportunities in the proposed location or to further a new relationship that will contribute to the party’s happiness. Ultimately, the court must be satisfied that the reason for relocating is worth the impact it can have on the child and their relationship with the other parent.

The child’s opinion

If the child is of an age where they can express their opinion on the move, the court will take this into consideration. As mentioned previously, the concern of the court is to ensure that the child’s wellbeing will be preserved in the event of a relocation, so their wants are heavily considered in the decision-making process.

If the child can have a meaningful relationship with both parent’s post-relocation

The unfortunate reality of relocation matters is that the non-relocating parent will inevitably become more distanced from the child in the process. Because of this, the court will look at the likelihood of the child being able to maintain a meaningful relationship with the affected parent and the possible impact this can have on the child themselves.

Any incidences of family violence

In situations where the relocating party is attempting to escape past or present violence from their ex-partner, the court will take this into serious consideration. In this case, the relocating parent must make a compelling argument as to why it is best for the child to live far away from the non-relocating parent.

If you are facing a relocation issue, it’s always best to seek legal advice from experienced family lawyers. Contact Australian Family Lawyers today to speak to our dedicated team of family law specialists.

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