If you are looking for a lawyer to help with a leave to remove case based in London, then look no further. Put simply Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors are the pre-eminent family law solicitors in the area of acting for parents applying for and opposing the court's permission to relocate with their children, known as ‘leave to remove proceedings’. There is no other firm you should instruct to either save your children from being relocated or to relocate out of the country, if that is in the children’s best interests.
With the breakdown of a relationship it can often be the case that one of the parties wishes to relocate to another part of the UK. This can be for a number of reasons, i.e. financial, a new job, a new relationship, a better quality of life, or simply back to their hometown. However, when there are children involved this is not as easy as just packing and leaving.
Parental Responsibility grants the power to make decisions for and on behalf of a child. Parents with parental responsibility can act separately to make decisions, without having to consult the other parent, on many decisions affecting the child. These include most day to day parenting responsibilities like when a child will do homework, what they eat, how much free time they have, etc. Some bigger decisions can be made alone by a parent with parental responsibility, but although there may be no legal requirement for them to obtain the consent of the other parties with parental responsibility, it would be sensible to do so before a decision is made. Examples of these would be the child’s religion, where they go to school, any medical treatment etc.
There are however, some decisions that will require the agreement of all parties with parental responsibility. You cannot, for example change your child’s name, remove a child from the UK, or go through adoption, without the consent of all persons with parental responsibility. Removing a child from the UK permanently, without this consent would be a criminal offence and you could face charges of child abduction. You are allowed to take holidays abroad, for a period of up to four weeks, without specific consent, but obviously it is always advisable to make sure each party knows the situation before travelling to avoid problems and miscommunication. Obtaining this in writing is always the best recourse.
Parental Responsibility is the legal term introduced by the Children Act 1989 and is defined as ‘all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’.
The mother is automatically granted parental responsibility when a child is born. If the father and mother are married at the time of the birth, then the father will also automatically be granted parental responsibility. If the father and mother are not married, then as long as the father is on the birth certificate and the child was born after 1 December 2003 he too will automatically have parental responsibility. If the father is not named on the birth certificate, or the child was born before 1 December 2003 then he can receive parental responsibility by either agreement with the mother, or by an order of the court.
There are some decisions that a parent with parental responsibility can make alone and although there is no legal requirement to obtain the consent of the other persons with parental responsibility it is sensible that they should be consulted before a decision is made. For example those types of decisions would include consenting to medical treatment, enrolling a child at a particular school, and deciding the child’s religion.
If a parent wishes to relocate within England and Wales then the other parties with parental responsibility will need to be in agreement as this decision will affect issues like, where the child will go to school, where they will live etc and are likely to have significant consequences on the parent not relocating and the contact they will have with the child. If any of the parties object to the move and an agreement cannot be reached, then they can make an application to the court for a ‘prohibited steps order’. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This can also include an order forbidding a parent from moving out of a certain geographical area with the child without leave of the court.
For a parent wishing to relocate and change a child’s school against the other parent’s wishes, it is essential to apply for a ‘child arrangements order’. This enables the court to decide who the child lives with primarily and will also regulate both how much and when they have contact with the other parent. The courts will always put your child’s best interests first and will look at the facts of each case individually to assess what is the best solution for YOUR child.
Leave to remove cases can be incredibly challenging and emotive and are never easy or clear cut. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors we have a wealth of professional and personal experience in the Leave to remove arena and we will always help you to reach the best outcome in your child’s best interests. We will be with you every step of the way.
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call.
Please contact us on 01483 826 470