A parent facing the removal of their child or children to a geographically remote location has a number of options open to them.
If the parent with whom the child lives is considering a move abroad, that parent will need the permission of the court to take the children.
- Consider whether to apply for a child arrangements order transferring the child’s main care to you, in addition to opposing the relocation order
If the proposed relocation is within the UK
There may be no application to oppose (there may be no application for relocation if the move is ‘domestic’), so you may have to take steps to prevent the move
- Apply for a prohibited steps order to prevent a move
- Consider applying for a specific issue order dealing with the child’s education, and, if appropriate, a child arrangements order changing residence and contact arrangements for the child.
In exceptional cases, where a parent suspects that a child is to be removed at short notice and without permission or discussion, there are legal steps that can be taken. Should you find yourself in this situation, you should seek legal advice as a priority to ensure steps can be taken to protect the child until the courts have resolved the issue.
- If necessary, involve the police
Subject to their being no urgency, before applying for any orders, you and the other parent, will need to attend a
Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) – and see also Applicant’s checklist
After the MIAM
An application to oppose the relocation can be made on Form C100 if the matter cannot be resolved through mediation. Additional orders can be applied for using Form C2.
Prepare joint letter of instruction for any expert that will be involved
Prepare a position statement
After the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA)
If the issues cannot be resolved (or only some of the issues can be resolved) at the FHDRA, the court will make directions in relation to the final hearing. If this is the case, as the Respondent, you will, with the support of your solicitor and legal team, need to
- Prepare a detailed witness statement
- Make sure you have considered the interplay between your position and the guidance that applies in relocation cases
- Carefully scrutinise the other parent’s plans and motivation for the relocation
- Consider legitimate queries about contact (both direct and indirect) proposals that have been made
- Check any Cafcass report that is produced and query any errors of fact
Attend a Dispute Resolution Appointment – if one is fixed. There will be an opportunity to make sure everything is in place for the final hearing and to see if issues can be resolved without going to court.
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