It is an unfortunate side effect of today's diverse society, that leave to remove cases in London are on the increase. When married partners make the decision to separate or divorce, it is often the children who will suffer as a result, especially if one of the parents is native to a country outside the UK and wishes to return there with the children. Or if the parents now wish to live several hours from each other. In these circumstances child custody relocation, or leave to remove (LTR) cases are not uncommon.
Before embarking on such a case, whether you are applying for, or defending, you should be well informed of all the choices available to you and make sure you weigh up all the options before deciding which route to choose. Your decision will have long term consequences, so do not make it lightly, or without legal advice from an expert lawyer with experience in this field.
It may be something you had never really considered before, or something you were nervous to suggest to an ex partner, but sometimes relocation can be in the child's best interests. You may have valid reasons for considering such a move and therefore relocation could be a viable and sensible option. Some of these reasons could include:
A relocation could put you closer to your family and extended family members.
Visitation would still be possible with the left behind parent.
Your job prospects and chances of employment would be increased.
Please always bear in mind that a court's primary focus is ALWAYS what is in the child's best interests, irrespective of your own personal view. They will not usually wish to disrupt the child's life any more than necessary, so if the parents cannot sort out a leave to remove London case themselves, they need to make sure they produce a thorough and factual case to put their point across. You would both need to anticipate facing a situation where you need to provide a burden of proof to the court. The parent who wishes to relocate will need to show good reason why it would benefit the child and the opposing parent would need to show why the relocation would not be good for the child.
With good legal counsel, and excellent preparation and planning this will be achievable and either side would be in with a good chance of winning. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors we have many years of not just professional, but also personal experience in this area and will always treat your case as if we were acting in the best interest's of one of our own children. Our track record speaks for itself. Have a look at our testimonials to see what some of our previous clients have to say about us.
One thing that the courts do not look favourably on, is where the relocating parent does not notify the remaining parent of their intention to move in a timely manner. Rather they actually put off telling them until they absolutely need to. This is not good practice or responsible parenting and the courts will take a dim view of a parent wishing to relocate, who chose not to disclose it to the remaining parent.
Other factors that the courts will take into consideration when deciding on a Leave to remove London case are things like:
The distance of the move and contact arrangements between the parents. If you are not planning to move far and the contact will remain the same, then the courts are more likely to approve it. If you wish to move further away (or out of the UK) they will need to see that adequate contact arrangements have been made and can be maintained, allowing for things like time differences, work hours etc. They will need to see that consideration has been given to this situation and whilst the day to day contact may need to vary, you may have allowed extra contact during school holidays etc. to counter this when time is more feasible. For a remaining partner whose relocating partner has a good case, this is an excellent point to negotiate, prior to court, for increased contact, travel expenses etc. We can help you through this and advise you every step of the way to ensure you achieve the best deal for you and your children, whichever side of the fence you are on.
The ages of the children. The court may well wish to speak to older children to ascertain their preferences in the situation and whether they wish to relocate or stay with the remaining parent. The courts are used to this process and will always ensure your children are dealt with in an age appropriate manner. They will also need evidence to see that the child's schooling has been explored prior to a relocation, for instance you will need to show that you are aware of the local schools, whether they have vacancies, what after school facilities are available etc. They would not grant an application to a parent who had not explored these possibilities, as it is not in the child's best interests to relocate to somewhere without their educational needs being met. They will want to see that the child will be receiving an education of an equivalent standard to the one they would have received in the UK.
Many of the details they will check are listed below in the welfare checklist from the Children Act of 1989. The welfare checklist is set out in section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989 and provides that the Court must have particular regard to:
The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child (considered in light of her age and understanding)
Her physical, emotional and educational needs
The likely effect of any change in her circumstances
Her age, sex, background and any characteristics of hers which the Court considers relevant
Any harm which she has suffered or is at risk of suffering
How capable each of her parents and any other person in relation to whom the Court considers the question to be relevant is of meeting her needs
The range of powers available to the Court under the Children Act 1989 Key to a successful application: This lies in very careful and tactical planning and ensuring that the evidence covers all factors, including: Your reasons for wanting to relocate. Where you propose to live (including full information of the amenities and maps of the area) How the move is to be funded. Information about what the area has to offer the child e.g. nurseries/school, after school and sports clubs, medical facilities etc. How far you will be from your support network of friends and/or family members. Full details of your proposed employment, working hours, who will look after the child and take to/from nursery/school. Impact of changes in language and culture on the child. Full information of schools, whether a place will be available, what fees and continuity or interruption with existing education. Proposals for contact between the child and the other parents – and who will pay for it. The effect on you, emotionally, physically and financially of a refusal to relocate.
Finally, do not panic! It can all seem overwhelming, but we are experienced Leave to remove lawyers London and we will guide you through every step of the way. We will explain all of your options thoroughly and in an easy to understand manner. You will be well informed long before you have to make a decision on anything. We will answer any questions you have honestly and not fill you with false promises. We know from personal experience how important these cases are and how emotive they can be. We will always put you and your families welfare first.
If you are looking for Leave to remove London then look no further.
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey Central London, we can help you. If you have a relocation dispute that needs resolving, then don't hesitate to get in touch and let us help you through the process.
Call now to arrange a consultation 01483 826 470