Often, upon separation, as a consequence of isolation from
family and friends, financial burdens or family violence, one party
wishes to move away with the children of the relationship to gain a
These cases are some of the most difficult cases that a Court
needs to determine. Whilst a Court does not have jurisdiction to
determine where an adult lives, it does have jurisdiction to
determine where a child may reside. In those circumstances they can
order the child to live with a particular parent, or to reside in a
In the recent case of Sadberry & Jablon, the Full Court of
Family Court determined that a child was to return to live in the
area where the mother used to live, and the child was to begin to
spend time with the father for an hour each Saturday and
This was in circumstances where the mother had unilaterally
relocated to Queensland, from Central New South Wales, without the
father's knowledge or consent. The father, at this time, had no
relationship with the child. The Court determined that it would be
in the child's best interest to develop a meaningful
relationship with the father, and that could not be done if the
child continued to live in Queensland. Therefore, the mother was
required to return with the child to Central New South Wales and
Orders were made for the child to spend some time with the father
on a gradual basis.
There is no clear authority on how relocation matters are to be
decided however the Court emphasises that it is in the child's
best interest to develop a meaningful relationship with both
parents. It is therefore important that you obtain legal advice
prior to re-location, to ensure that your case is presented in a
way most likely to assist you.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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