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Can I relocate with my child?
After separation, the Family Law Act provides an assumed presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. However, this may be changed by the Court with a parenting order. Equal shared parental responsibility requires that both parents agree on major decisions in the children’s life. These include:
- Where the children go to school
- Decisions relating to the children’s health
- The children’s religious and cultural upbringing
- Authorising travel documents for the children
- Changing the children’s living arrangements
- Changing the children’s name
There are many reasons why you might be looking to move away with your children. Some examples may include finding a new partner that lives elsewhere, a job opportunity in a new town or country, moving back to your hometown to support family and friends or moving away for a fresh start. In these circumstances, it is best to first talk to the other parent about your plans to move.
If both parents have equal shared parental responsibility, you will both have to agree to relocate. If you are unable to agree, dispute resolution may be able to help you reach an agreement. If you cannot agree on dispute resolution, you may ask the Court to make orders to allow you to move.
I have sole custody; do I still need permission to move?
If you wish to relocate, you do not need to have consent to move. However, there are restrictions if you have a parenting order in place. You could breach your parenting order if you cannot meet the requirements specified in the parenting order. This is usually your children not able to spend the time with their other parent or family members under the court order.
How far away can I move?
There is no set standard as to far you can and cannot move. It is decided on a case-to-case basis and relies on its effect on your children and their ability to have a meaningful relationship with their other parent.
What do the Courts take into consideration?
The Court will consider several factors outlined in the Family Law Act when determining whether it is in the best interests of the child to move. These include:
- Any views expressed by the child
- The nature of the relationship of the child with the other parent and persons (Grandparents or relatives)
- The likely effect the change will have on the child’s circumstances
- The practical difficulty and expense of the child spending time with and communicating with the other parent and persons
- The ability of both parents to care for the child
- The maturity, lifestyle and background of the child
- Any family violence involving the child or family member
- Any other considerations the court thinks relevant
Other considerations the Court may take into consideration are:
- Where are you moving to?
- Can you afford the relocation costs?
- Will you be using before and after school care?
- What support do you have in the new area?
- What is the history of your new relationship?
- What is the relationship between you children and their parent?
- What is the relationship between your children and your new partner?
What if I leave without permission?
If you move without the other parent's permission or in breach of current parenting orders, then your former partner can apply to the Court for a recovery order. The Court may order you return and if you fail to comply, the police may be involved in returning the children. The cost incurred would be your responsibility.
What if my ex-partner relocates with our child and I can’t find them?
A location order may be applied if your ex-partner moves without your permission and you do not know where they are located but think they are in Australia. This will allow the Court to order government agencies and individuals to provide any information they may have on the whereabouts of your children.
We are here to help
Our Family Law Solicitors specialise in child parenting matters and represent clients throughout the Central Coast, Newcastle & Hunter Regions. We have the experience and understanding to guide you through the process from beginning to end and get you the best possible outcome.
At Fourtree Lawyers, we aim to help you resolve relocation issues quickly, cost-effectively and preferably out of court. We can help you navigate any issues that may arise when looking to move away with your children. Contact one of our Family Law Specialists on 1300 529 444 or fill in a contact form to arrange a free conference with a solicitor today.
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