If you are a parent wishing to relocate, with your children, abroad then you will need advice from a specialist leave to remove lawyers, or child relocation lawyers. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors we have extensive professional and personal experience in this field and are the pre-eminent lawyer to help you navigate through this process.
We can help whether you are the parent wishing to relocate, or if you are the parent potentially ‘left-behind.’ If you are a parent wishing to move outside of the UK, with a child, you will need to obtain the permission of everyone who holds parental responsibility for that child, whether it is the other parent, local authority, or other family member. You should obtain this in writing, where possible, to reduce future conflict. You may also need to apply to the court for an order granting you permission to leave the country, this applies especially where mutual agreement by all parties with parental responsibility cannot agree to the move. These cases are referred to as Leave to remove cases (LTR) or Child relocation.
In these types of cases the courts paramount priority is the welfare of the child, whether that is to stay or leave, they always put the child’s best interests first. If they feel an LTR case is purely for self-serving reasons, or that not enough consideration has been put into the plan they will have no qualms in rejecting it. This is where a good, experienced leave to remove lawyer’s advice can prove invaluable. Some of the things the courts will take into consideration and look at in detail are:
Is the application genuine? They will question if this is just an attempt to remove one parent from the child’s life and will need to be fully satisfied that this is not the case. They will also need to be satisfied that reasonable contact with the left-behind parent can be maintained and will require details of how this is to be managed and also paid for in the event of long distance moves. All practicalities of travel arrangements need to be discussed and accepted too – this is things like: cost and accessibility of plane/train journeys for both the child (age dependant) and the left behind parent; are weekend visits an option and if not what measures have been put in place for contact to continue; How is phone/Skype contact to be managed, if this is an option. The courts will need to be satisfied that reasonable consideration has been given to the costs involved and as to whether both parents can afford to maintain the arrangement.
Are the removing parent’s plans well researched and realistic? The courts will need to see that research has been made and consideration given to things like the child’s schooling. Is there a place for them? How long before they can start? They will also need to see how the new lifestyle will be funded i.e. will the parent moving away be working and if not how are they proposing to fund themselves and their new life? If the move is to a non-English speaking country then consideration should be shown as to how they will continue to learn English abroad, are they to be educated in English (International school) or are they required learn a new language
Is there a social network for the child? If the parent is moving to a native homeland then this would be shown by the family network of grandparents, cousins, and siblings etc. who can all help with childcare arrangements. If they are moving to somewhere without a family connection then the courts will need to see that research has been made into things like extra-curricular activities, or local clubs, to enable the child to integrate into their new life and to make new friendships.
As experienced leave to remove lawyers we can help you if you have a concern that your child may imminently be removed from the UK (abducted) against your wishes and without a court order. If you think this may be the case then time is of the essence and you need to obtain legal advice quickly to avoid the child being removed. We can help you through the process of obtaining a 'prohibited steps order' which will prevent the other parent from removing the child abroad whilst the case is ongoing. If you have a genuine and serious concern and feel that a removal is imminent, you should contact the police and, if possible, try to retain the child's passport.
We can help you with all areas of your Leave to remove case, these include:
We use our own unique legal and psychological approach to your personal situation and will help you to make informed decisions based on the best interests and welfare of your child. We are keen to avoid all parties being on edge and in attack positions, this can hinder negotiations and your children will pick up on the negative vibes.
As expert leave to remove lawyers we totally ‘get’ that emotions can be heightened at this time and that some cases can be incredibly combative with each party wanting to ‘win’ at all costs. However we can work with both of you to see what is in the child’s best interests and to find a mutually agreeable way forward. If relocating is in the child’s best interests we will be honest with you, and if you are the left-behind parent we can help to arrange more contact in return for not contesting the move, but there are many more ways we can help you to both come to an agreement over the future of your children. It is important to put your own disagreements together to one side at this time and to work together in the best interests of your children, but we also totally accept that sometimes this is just not possible and we can liaise with you both to come to an agreement.
A lot of parents do not look at the situation through the eyes of their children. You do need to give some consideration to how the children will be feeling knowing they won’t see the other parent as much, or maybe limited telephone contact etc. If they are older and have a good relationship then a move away will obviously be difficult for both of them and, even if it is in their best interests, consideration should be given to this. Many parents fail to see that although their relationship with their partner may have ended, their relationships with their child has not. Even if the two of you can no longer work together has either of you done anything that makes you unfit to partake in their daily lives? You will need to listen to your children closely at this time and take into account their thoughts and feelings on everything concerning the move, contact and anything else they may have questions about.
We are here and happy to help with any leave to remove questions or queries you may have. With extensive personal and professional experience in this field we really are best placed to help guide you through this testing time, to a successful resolution.
For all queries call us today on 01483 826470 and let us help you.