After a separation or divorce, parents can feel isolated. If the parent originates from another country, this can in turn lead them to consider moving back to the country where they originally came from and back to their immediate family.  But choosing this significantly separate path to your ex-spouse can be complicated when children are involved.

Automatically, both the child’s mother and father have parental responsibility, regardless of where the child mainly resides.

For parents with sole responsibility of their child, where there is no disagreement with the party, there is no problem moving the child abroad. However, for parents with joint responsibility and joint interest in the children, it is essential that they communicate to reach an agreement regarding the possible relocation and on-going arrangements for the child. Ultimately, oral or preferably written consent must be obtained from the party remaining in the country where the child originally resided (often referred to as the “left-behind parent”).

In an ideal world, conversations between parties would be smooth, the relationship amicable and an appropriate agreement reached. However, it is often the case that one parent disputes the idea of their children moving overseas and withholds their consent. The reason is usually the loss of contact with the left-behind parent. This is not fanciful; many studies have shown that without clear practical arrangements being established from the start, contact often falls away quickly.

If the dispute did escalate and was taken to Court, the person seeking to relocate would need to provide legitimate reasons as to why they wanted the child to be taken abroad; and for the parent at risk of being “left-behind”, why the child should stay put. The Court will base its decision on the best interests of the child. The strength of feeling of the parent wanting to “go home” is not necessarily a guide to what is best for the child, although it can be.

To properly understand your legal rights, discuss your situation with a solicitor with knowledge and familiarity with issues regarding relocation, and can advise you of the best way to pursue your case, both for your good and the good of your child.

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Children's Issues

The scenario below does not relate to any individual clients of ours but the facts and the outcomes relate to some similar experiences in our practice.

Scenario Analysis Example #1

The Scenario

Mr and Mrs H separated. Mr H moved a few streets away and their eldest boy (now 15) lived with him. The younger children (14 and 12) stayed with Mrs H but the children live near each other and attend the same school.

Mrs H remarried and wishes to move to her new husband's city. Mr H sought advice about residence of the other children. He told us the middle child wanted to stay at school with his friends.

Our Solution

There is no set age at which a child can "choose". Nevertheless in reality it would be hard for Mrs H to resist the 14 year old's wishes. We needed to be careful not to stress the children. Rather than issuing proceedingswe arranged mediation for Mr and Mrs H to discuss the issues.

We advised Mr H to be flexible regarding contact. They reached an amicable arrangement for all children to live with Mr H for the school week and half weekends; and flexible school holiday arrangements.

Henry Brookman Discusses: Childrens Issues

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I recently had a one hour pro bono consultation with Samantha Jago. I was really blown away by how much she was able to digest in such a short period of time and even more so by the report which I received shortly after.

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About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Mark Rennie

Mark is the Group Head of the Horsham Family Law team. He specialises in all areas of matrimonial law, including complex divorce and financial disputes, and is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Nigel Winter

A highly experienced solicitor, Nigel has expertise in collaborative law, divorce, contested litigation, relationship agreements, and children matters. Nigel is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Samantha Jago

Partner at our Guildford office and recommended by The Legal 500, Samantha has specialist expertise in divorce, children matters, complex international cases, and is a trained mediator.

Partner

Amanda Glass

Amanda is a highly experienced family law partner providing expert advice on all aspects of family law, divorce and separation with an emphasis on financial remedy cases.

Partner

Alicia Cenizo

Alicia is a Partner in the family team and advises on all elements of family law, particularly private children work, including matters with an international element such as relocation.

Partner

Joanna Potbury

Family law specialist based in Brighton advising on divorce, cohabitation agreements, children, post-nuptial agreements, and domestic violence. Joanna is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

Partner

Gemma Garrett

Based in Horsham, Gemma is a specialist advising on all areas of family law including divorce and separation (often involving jurisdiction issues), complex financial matters, and children matters.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

Ella Welsby

Known for her sensitivity and discretion combined with significant expertise, Ella advises on all family issues including high-value and multi-jurisdiction divorce and complex financial and children matters.

Senior Solicitor

Susan Hayes

Susan qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and is based at our Brighton office. She is a longstanding member of the Law Society Specialist Children Panel and Family Law Panel. Susan is also a trained Collaborative Lawyer.

Associate Solicitor

Lauren Moir

Lauren is a highly regarded specialist family law solicitor, based at our Guildford office. She advises on divorce, family finances, children matters, domestic abuse, cohabitee issues, and relationship agreements.

Associate Solicitor

Rachael Au

Rachael is a highly capable member of the family team in Brighton. She specialises in family law, advising on divorce, civil partnerships, financial matters, and children issues.

Associate Solicitor

Amber Matheson

Based at the Guildford office, Amber has experience dealing with family matters including divorce, finances, separation after cohabitation, arrangements for children and leave to remove cases.

Solicitor

Amelia Groom

Amelia has experience across a full range of family matters, including divorce, complex disputes regarding finances that range from trusts through to cryptocurrencies, and arrangements for children.

Executive FCILEx

Natalie Higham

Natalie is a Family Legal Executive who advises individuals on divorce, separation, financial remedies available to them on the breakdown of their relationship,…

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Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

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Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

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Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

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Patricia James

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

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