Can my former partner stop me from relocating with my children?

Relocation cases often arise in family law proceedings, in which one parent proposes to relocate with the child or children of the relationship. The proposed relocation will fall under one of the following situations: the parent will either seek to relocate within Australia, or in another country.

Marilyn Stowe, an English family lawyer, identifies some helpful steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation:[1]

  1. Firstly, both parties should attempt to reach an agreement between themselves. This will avoid the need to take the matter to Court. However, it is important to note that this is not always possible.
  2. If the parties cannot reach an agreement between themselves, an application to the court will be necessary. An application can be made by the either parent proposing the relocation or the parent opposing the relocation.

The outcome of a relocation case is dependent on the current situation of the parties and any existing parenting arrangements. However, the primary consideration of the courts in relocation cases is what is in the best interests of the child or children of the relationship.

In the unreported case of H and H, the mother proposed to relocate from a rural area in southern NSW to Adelaide with her children. The mother was extremely unhappy in her current living situation as it was isolating, distressing and she lacked support. However, the evidence provided that there was no actual impairment on the mother’s parenting capacity.

Despite accepting that the relocation would diminish the relationship between the father and the children, the Court ultimately made orders in favour of the mother’s relocation to Adelaide with her children. The Court found that it would be an ungenerous submission to suggest that the mother remain in her current situation despite any apparent breakdown in her parenting capacity.

If you require advice about relocation from an accredited family law practitioner in Melbourne, please contact us at Rowan Skinner and Associates Lawyers.