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Relocating – What Are The Steps Involved With Regards To My Children

November 3, 2016

Moving with your children to another location, which changes the time the other parent would otherwise spend with the children, is known as relocation. If you and your former partner are separated and you want to move with your children, you need permission from the other parent, or an Order from the Family Court. If you’re thinking about relocating, or you’re worried your former partner might relocate with your kids, you should seek legal advice from a family lawyer.

Why would someone relocate?

Even if you have parenting arrangements with your former partner that are working well, changes in either of your circumstances might lead to relocation. For example, you or your former partner might re-marry and the new partner might live in another state. Your former partner might get a job promotion that requires them to move away. Alternatively, a parent might simply decide to move back to where they originally grew up, or where they have more support from their family.

Try to reach an agreement about relocating

If you’re thinking about relocating, you should try to talk to the other parent first (particularly if the children live primarily with you). You might be able to reach an agreement by changing some of your normal parenting arrangements. For example, if you are relocating with your children, you might agree for the children to stay with the other parent for longer periods during school holidays or for long weekends. Once you’ve reached an agreement, you can have it formalised via a parenting plan, or apply for Consent Orders from the Family Court.

If you can’t reach an agreement

If parents are unable to agree about arrangements for the children when one parent is relocating, either parent may apply to the Family Court for Orders. If relocating means that the time your children spend with the other parent is limited, the Court might not give you permission to move. If you move without having a Consent Order or an agreement with the other parent, the Court can order you to return with the children, until an outcome has been decided.

How the court views relocation

When the Court makes a decision about whether a parent may relocate with the children, it will consider a number of things:

  • How you propose the children will spend time with the other parent;
  • What the children’s wishes are (if they’re old enough);
  • What kind of relationship each parent has with the children;
  • Whether there are any benefits to relocating;
  • Whether moving away will mean the children are unable to maintain a relationship with either parent;
  • The travel costs involved to maintain physical contact.

If you wish to relocate, it’s wise to prepare a proposal on how your children can continue their relationship with the other parent (eg visits, phone calls, Skype sessions, etc.) Your lawyer can help you with this.

Whether you and the other parent agree or not about relocating, getting the right legal advice will help you obtain the best outcome for your family. Paterson & Dowding is a firm of experienced family lawyers and divorce lawyers in Perth. They offer timely and practical advice on parenting matters, divorce, family dispute resolution and more, with a focus on developing the best possible care arrangements for your children. For advice on relocating, call Paterson & Dowding on 08 9226 3300 or visit www.patersondowding.com.au

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