Relocation after separation and divorce.
Life and circumstances change. Following separation or divorce, you or your former partner might be seeking a fresh start somewhere new or finally going after that dream job.
That alone is unlikely to be a problem, but the impact on your children and their relationship with both parents is a different story. Your family has been through a lot of upheaval already, and adding relocation to the mix has the potential to inflame already heightened emotions.
There is very little restriction, per se, on the rights of an adult to choose where they live. When that impacts a child and their ability to have a meaningful relationship with both parents it is a different story. A relocation dispute emerges where there is disagreement about relocating a child between separated or divorced parents.
Regardless of whether you are the parent choosing to move away or the parent ‘left behind’, the suggestion of relocation doesn’t need to result in conflict and a one way ticket to court. We advocate considering all of the options through open and frank discussions or mediation before contemplating going to court.
Both parties need to consider:
- the likely impact on the child;
- the best interests of the child and if they are of an age where this needs to be weighted;
- current relationships with both parents;
- if it is feasible for the child to live with the parent that is not relocating;
- the reasons prompting the move and whether it is reasonable to remain;
- will remaining be emotionally and financially negative to the parent;
- is it possible for both parties to relocate;
- expected timeframe and length of the relocation;
- practicalities of travel between locations to facilitate meaningful time with both parents;
- availability of appropriate and affordable housing, employment;
- emotional and family support;
- arrangements for a new school; and
- anything else specific to your child and situation.
If you are unable to reach agreement on a proposed relocation it is likely that the matter will require intervention at court. The primary consideration of the court will be the best interests of the child, in addition to the above factors. Despite the specific proposals of the parties, the court is at liberty to consider any arrangement for the child assuming that, based on the evidence available, the outcome is in the best interest of a child and is reasonably practical.
Due to the emotionally charged complexity of relocation matters, they can be problematic and the outcome can be devastating for everyone if things don’t work out. Save yourself the emotional turmoil and uncertainty and seek expert relocation advice early on. Contact our team of relocation lawyers today to find out where you stand and what your options are.