Relocating with children

Part 1: 50-200 kilometres

Kiara Greenway, Paralegal and Law Clerk

A variety of different circumstances, such as employment opportunities or other significant changes, can result in a separated parent needing to move towns, states or even overseas.

But what impact does this have on the relationship between the other parent and his or her child or children?  If the move impacts on the ability of a child to spend time with this other parent, the proposed move may be prohibited by the Court.  Such a decision is made by the Court in the context of what it considers to be the best interests of the child.

Over a series of three blog articles, Brisbane Family Law firm, Best Wilson Buckley will be composing a three part series on the following three types of relocations:

  1. Moving the children’s residence 50-200km;
  2. Moving the children’s residence interstate; and
  3. Moving the children’s residence internationally.

This first blog focuses on a relocation which contemplates moving the child’s residence 50 to 200 kilometres away.

Recently one of our clients (Mum) was faced with a situation whereby she needed to move with the children from the Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba, approximately 200km away, due to the significant emotional stress and tension she was under residing in the same town as her former partner.

Following the move, the mother facilitated regular contact between the children and the father, through the use of telephone calls and other multimedia such as FaceTime. The children spent time with the father one weekend every fortnight.

The father applied to the Court to have our client and children move back to the Sunshine Coast. On Mum’s behalf, we opposed this for a number of reasons:

  • The mother had secured employment in Toowoomba in a healthy work environment, relieving a lot of the pressure and concern she was experiencing in the Sunshine Coast;
  • Toowoomba is a safe, family orientated community, allowing Mum and the children to engage in community events and lead a positive, happy lifestyle;
  • Mum and children lived in a home at a lower, more affordable expense – the rate of rent in the Sunshine Coast was not affordable for Mum, so the move to Toowoomba eased the financial stress Mum was struggling with;
  • Toowoomba is full of beautiful parks, gardens and outdoor play/BBQ areas that the children love, with easy access to a variety of childcare and shopping centres;
  • The children settled into the new area very well and developed a supportive circle of friends through regular attendance at childcare; and
  • Mum and the children were able to spend quality time with friends and extended family more often, providing them with the emotional support they needed during a difficult time.

Mum was ultimately successful, with His Honour determining that it was within the best interests of the child for them to live primarily with Mum in Toowoomba, with the children to spend time with Dad on alternate weekends.

In coming to this agreement, a number of considerations were made, such as:

  • The practicality of the child spending time and developing a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • The ability of both parties to effectively parent the child in light of the competing proposals;
  • Any difficulty or added expense associated with the relocation in terms of travel arrangements.

Planning a move? We can help.

Call our team of Brisbane family and divorce lawyers on 3210 0281.