Taking a child abroad to live?

Taking a child abroad to live?

One issue that sometimes occurs is when one parent wishes to relocate out of England and Wales taking a child of the family with them, and that move will affect the child’s relationship with the remaining parent.

To remove a child out of the UK without the consent of all people who have Parental Responsibility, is likely to result in criminal abduction proceedings. The relocation should only take place:

  1. With the consent of all people who have Parental Responsibility for the children or,

  2. Leave (Permission) of the court.


At Lawson-West Solicitors, we have a highly experienced family team able to provide specialist and tailored legal advice for your needs.


We would always try and reach an agreement with the parent remaining in England/ Wales. Agreeing when and where and how often the child should spend time with them. We would attempt to discuss this either through solicitor communication or mediation.

If this is not possible, then an application would need to be made to the court.  As in all Children Act matters the courts primary consideration is the welfare of the children concerned. The checklist the court will use to consider welfare is:

  • ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned

  • physical, emotional and educational needs of the child concerned

  • the likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances

  • the child’s age, sex, backgrounds, any harm the child has suffered or maybe at risk of suffering

  • capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs

  • the powers available to the court in the given proceeding

In a previous matter before the court guidance was also given of what should be considered:

  • The welfare of the child is always paramount.

  • There is no presumption in favour of the parent wishing to move. The reasonable proposals of the parent with a residence order wishing to live abroad carry great weight.

  • The proposals must be scrutinised as the court must be satisfied that there is a genuine motivation for the move and not an intention to end contact between the child and the other parent.

  • The effect of a refusal of permission to relocate on the applicant parent and new family of the child is very important.

  • The effect on the child of having no contact with the other parent (and in some cases his family) is very important.

  • The opportunity for continuing contact between the child and the parent left behind may be very significant.


These are however a guideline only and the child’s welfare always remains the paramount concern of the court.


When thinking about relocating with a child to live a broad, think about:

  • the impact on the child of them not seeing the remaining parent so often,

  • the impact of the child not seeing other family members so often

  • what are your proposal’s to ensure that the child continues to have a relationship with the other parent and family members?

  • will their educational needs be met, and have you looked at the schooling?

  • will any health issues or disabilities still be cared for, if so, how?

  • if moving back to your homeland, what relatives are there and are you moving near to them?


This is by no means an exhaustive list. The more information you can give the court and the more positive you can be to ensure the children continue to enjoy a good relationship with the remaining parent, the better your chances are.

Whether you wish to leave England and Wales with a child or resist another parent who intends to leave with a child, you would need specialist legal advice.


At Lawson-West we have a strong and dedicated family team who can provide legal assistance and guide you through Children Act proceedings.


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