LEAVE TO REMOVE LONDON AND THINGS TO BE AWARE OF.
If you are looking for a lawyer to help with a leave to remove case based in London then look no further. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors we have many years of not just professional, but personal experience in this area of law and can help you with any concerns or queries you currently have with your own situation.
Unfortunately it has become much more common and an inevitable consequence of today’s international and multi-cultural families that when, or after, parental relationships break down, one parent may wish to move to another part of the world to live, taking the children with them. This can be for a number of reasons: either to return to their place or birth, where there may be familial help available for childcare etc. or maybe for a new relationship, or even just a new start. These types of cases cause great emotion and can be a time of great stress and unease for the one parent whose relationship with the children they feel may either be at risk, or will be diminished if this happens. Child relocation applications to the court (leave to remove) are unfortunately rising with the increased movements of people around the world. Below we have targeted some specific questions pertaining to both relocation within the UK and abroad.
If I wish to relocate with my children to another part of the UK will I require the consent of the other parent?
If you are the sole person with parental responsibility then technically there is no requirement to seek permission from the other parent. However if you have shared parental responsibility then this will be required to relocate anywhere within the UK.
In cases where there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, which will specify who the children are to live with, then there is technically no need for that parent to obtain permission from the other parent for a move within the UK. This is with the assumption that contact can still take place on a regular basis.
However with both these cases it would be good parenting and good practise to obtain permission to relocate, preferably in writing, to prevent any future issues arising. If the other parent does object to the relocation and an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be necessary for the parent wishing to relocate to make an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order. Likewise if a parent wishes to oppose a relocation they will need to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order, which will prevent the child being moved before an agreement can be reached between both parties. The family courts will always look at the situation with their primary concern being the welfare of the children.
If I wish to relocate abroad will I require the consent of the other parent?
Although technically, permission may not be needed in situations where only one parent has parental responsibility (and it is that parent wishing to relocate abroad with the child,) great care must be taken to not relocate without the other parent’s permission, otherwise there can be a real risk of child abduction proceedings in the civil and criminal courts being initiated. These carry grave repercussions and offenders can find themselves heavily penalised if they go down this route. As with UK cases it is prudent to obtain written permission from the other parent in all cases and if permission cannot be obtained, then an application should be made to the court for leave to remove from the jurisdiction. As expert leave to remove London lawyers we are best placed to help discuss all the options which are open to you.
What if my ex is planning on relocating regardless, but I do not give my consent?
You will need to seek legal advice quickly and an application made to the courts for a Prohibited Steps Order. Attempting Mediation is legally required prior to making these types of orders and using our own unique legal and psychological approach we have helped many couples to come to a mutual agreement that benefits the children primarily, but is also designed towards both parent’s needs. Don’t worry, we can help you to navigate through all the different scenarios pertaining to leave to remove London cases and find the best possible solution for you and your family.
Just a point of note here, but it is possible to apply for a prohibited steps order to prevent a parent (or any other person, or authority,) who also shares parental responsibility from relocating with the child, even if they are not legally required to provide permission before relocating.
Are there any independent agencies who will be consulted prior to court?
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) looks after the interests of all children involved in family proceedings. It is independent of the courts and social services, but works under the rules of the Family Court and legislation to work with children and their families and will then advise the courts on what is considered to be in the best interests of individual children. There can be several outcomes from their findings: They can agree with the application is in the child’s best interests; recommend a refusal of the application; or say it is finely balanced and not make a definitive recommendation to the court, leaving the Judge to decide.
How likely is my relocation to be approved?
Recent judgments from the family courts have shown movement towards a slightly more balanced view of leave to remove cases and the importance of children’s relationships with both parents. Historically judges were believed to almost just approve applications from the primary carer successfully through. Nowadays it is not quite so easy for applications for leave to remove to succeed, there are many times where the case law can make it more difficult and even stop applications being successful. We can help you, whichever side of the fence you are, to produce a well thought out and constructed argument to your situation. However we will always work for your children’s best interests and will always advise you of these, even if it isn’t what you wish to hear. If we feel your partner has a good case (either for or against a relocation) we will tell you and work with you to obtain the best possible deal for you, based on those circumstances.
The whole process for a leave to remove London case can be extremely lengthy, with a conservative average of 6 months, but some cases can take much longer to reach a conclusion. However we appreciate that going through a leave to remove case may seem like a mine field and difficult to navigate, but we will be there to help you all the way through the process. With our unique legal and psychological approach we can help you to mediate with your ex-partner and come to a mutually agreeable conclusion, with your child’s interests at the heart of it.
Contact Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors today on 01483 826470 and let us start helping you to a better future with your family.