Cases involving the proposed relocation of a child are difficult cases for the Court to decide.
Generally, decisions in relocation cases apply the same criteria as for other parenting cases, namely, what is in the best interests of the child.
Primary considerations are the most important to consider for issues such as relocation. There are two primary considerations, the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents AND the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.
The Court is required to consider whether the proposed relocation will impede the child’s ability to maintain a relationship with the non-relocating parent. If such a move is permitted to take place then the relocating parent will inevitably assume a greater role and presence in a child’s life. Conversely, contact between the child and the non-relocating parent will become less frequent and less regular.
Although the child’s best interests remain the paramount consideration, they are not the only consideration
The Court must also take into account:
- The child’s views and factors which might affect those views, such as the child’s maturity and level of understanding.
- Reasons why the parent wants to relocate. A parent wishing to move needs to show the court good reasons, including better job prospects in the other location or for better family support.
- The level of involvement the non-relocating parent has. The Court may be more inclined to allow relocation where the other parent has little or no contact with the children or there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
- The happiness of the relocating parent. The mental health of the parent wishing to relocate is important. If the relocating parent is the primary carer and has the child residing with them, the Court will consider whether the parent’s mental health would negatively affect their ability to parent if their request to relocate was refused.
- The competing proposals of the parties. The Court will balance each of the proposals for the children’s living arrangements put forward by each parent.
Consideration is also often given to the following:
- Whether the relocating parent has family in their current location or the new location.
- Whether the non-relocating parent is able to move also.
- Whether there are other children involved.
- Financial and career implications of a relocation.
- Cost and practical difficulties of the non-relocating parent spending time and communicating with the child.
Cases are decided on the unique facts of the particular case.
If you are thinking about relocating with your child inter-state or overseas, it is important that you obtain Family Law advice early on to determine the best course of action.
Contact our specialist family lawyers for a first free consultation, and to discuss your options.
We often represent both parents seeking to relocate, but also parents seeking to stop a proposed relocation. Our family lawyers are experienced in this area of law and are passionate about assisting your family to achieve the best outcome.
Call us on 02 9560 6811 today.