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If you have any questions about this or any other family matter, please call Gemma Gillespie at CooperBurnett Solicitors

By Gemma Gillespie, Partner

With the anticipated employment problems brought about by the pandemic, it is to be expected that more people will be asking if they are able to relocate with the children to other parts of the country, perhaps to enable them to access employment opportunities. 

The answer quite rightly must rest upon what is in the children’s best interests.

In the circumstances, as a parent, you need to consider firstly how you will continue to promote the children’s relationship with the other parent. How will you be able to ensure the children have time with them? In between actual visits, would you be able to ensure the children have telephone/video calls with them? Could you arrange visits when returning to this area to see your family? If a court can see that the children’s relationship with the other parent is going to be sustained and supported, this will really help.

On the other hand, if there has been a history of contested child arrangement proceedings, your application to move may be more difficult, as the court will want to be confident that the move is not motivated by you wanting to prevent the children from seeing their other parent.

Not only do you need to consider the other parent’s relationship with the children, you need to consider all your children’s other needs as well.

Your children’s education is a key issue and you should make enquiries of new schools in the area you plan to move to and look at Ofsted reports. Always talk to the other parent to see if they want to be involved in choosing the school.

In addition to education, you will need to sort out accommodation and make sure that the move makes sense financially, consider the cost of living in the new area and transport costs.

Remember the older and more mature a child is, the greater weight the court will attach to their wishes and feelings. If your teenager wants to stay in this area this may well be the decisive factor.

Always talk to the other parent and tell them about what your plans are well in advance of any move. If you do not do this and they hear about the move from someone else, they may make an emergency application to the court to stop you moving. Courts are very unhappy about this kind of underhand behaviour and it can really prejudice your chances of moving. If the other parent is still unhappy after you have spoken to them, agree to go to mediation to talk it through in front of a neutral person. If you still cannot agree, the court may have to make the decision for you both.

Remember arbitration, where you instruct a private judge, is also now available for children disputes and often this is a relatively quick way of obtaining a decision for the benefit of all, particularly because of the back log we are now seeing in the courts.

If you have any questions about this or any other family matter, please call Gemma Gillespie on tel: 01892 515022

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

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May 14, 2020
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