A recent Court of Appeal ruling prevented a Canadian mother from taking her children back to her home country.  Henry Brookman discusses the case and its possible impact on future cases of this type.  Published in Telegraph Online.

It might seem that a parent choosing to take their children to another country after divorce is an infrequent occurrence.  However, Resolution (the Solicitors Family Law Association) has estimated that in over 1000 cases per year, a UK parent is granted permission by the courts to leave the country with their children. In most instances, it is the mother who applies for permission.  However, a recent case concerning an Expat Canadian mother could well influence future cases of this type.

Court’s decision to allow relocation, overturned


After her original application, the Canadian mother was granted permission by the judge to leave the country with her two children aged four and two.  However, the ex-husband and father of the children appealed, and in a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal denied the mother the ability to relocate with her children.  The reasoning being that as the father looked after the children for two nights each week, he played too major a role in their lives for this relationship to be broken. 

The Court of Appeal’s decision explained

The Court of Appeal took a slightly different stance on the family’s situation to that typically taken by the courts.  Up until this case, the courts in England and Wales have taken the view that if the primary carer (usually the mother) requests to relocate – but is rejected – and this decision has a negative impact on her emotional state, this in turn could have a detrimental impact on the welfare of the children. As the family courts place the welfare of the children above any other consideration, they would then be likely to grant permission to relocate.

In the Canadian family’s case, the Court of Appeal maintained the standpoint that the children’s welfare was paramount.  However, the court considered the loss in contact between father and children as a likely greater source of distress than would be caused by the mother being forced to stay in the UK.

This decision is quite likely to have an influence on future decisions regarding relocation.  In essence, if the non-primary carer (typically the father) plays a significant part in the children’s lives, the courts are now more likely to consider the impact of a ‘broken’ relationship between father and child above the emotional wellbeing of the mother.  Obviously the same situation would apply if roles were reversed and the father was the primary carer applying to relocate.

What are the implications of the decision?

For some, this decision will be considered a victory for ‘common sense’ as it is likely to grant the non-primary carer more influence over where their children live.  However, others will be concerned that this ‘influence’ could be abused and some parents may use the Court of Appeal’s decision as a means to maintaining control over their ex-spouse above considering what is best for the children. 

If you would like to know more about this issue please contact Brookman Solicitors for more information.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Today I had my free initial consultation with partner Henry Brookman over the phone. He had a clear understanding of my situation based on the info I provided in advance and provided me with sound advice and guidance to move forward. Many thanks.

Aug 2022   H. J.

Really appreciated Brookman's advice and support. Most lawyers charge extortionate fees just for an initial conversation but not Henry. Thanks for all your advice and time.

Jul 2022   Chloé

I had a consultation with the partner Henry Brookman. I can absolutely recommend him, he seemed knowledgeable, up to date and patient. I have found him to be straightforward in the answers he gives and down to earth. 100% recommended.

Jun 2022   Michael P

I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Henry Brookman. His advice came in promptly when solicited, and was excellent. He is a thoughtful and very professional lawyer. He understood perfectly well the issue I presented him with, and gave me excellent advice in a family law related matter.

May 2022   Philip Hands

From my first contact with the firm I was treated courteously and promptly. I was offered a pro bono meeting shortly after making contact. Mr Brookman is clearly a very experienced professional and in our meeting he gave me some well considered and objective advice about my rather complicated situation which spans more than one jurisdiction.

May 2022   Julian Peachey

I had an initial consultation with Henry Brookman regarding prenuptial agreements and found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable.

Mar 2022   Simon Brooks

I had a free telephone consultation yesterday with Gavin Yeung. He could not have been more helpful and reassuring as he calmly and patiently worked through my situation to provide me with clarity and piece of mind at a time it was really needed and emotions are running high.

Mar 2022   'K M'

I spoke with Aziz at Brookman Solicitors on the phone for an initial consultation and he is one of the friendliest lawyers I have met. He is clearly very experienced as he patiently explained me all the concepts and processes which are quite daunting for someone in my situation, and then focused on the actual questions I wanted to ask... I would highly recommend Aziz and Brookman Solicitors.

Feb 2022   'R'

I am grateful for Henry Brookman and his team for support they provided to me during very frustrating time of divorce. They respond promptly to any request. I felt more confident after I started the process with them. Henry listened carefully to me and took quick actions on my case. I highly recommend this team of real professionals even for non-UK citizens.

Feb 2022   Sezim Beksultanova

I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470