Understanding Internal And External Relocation Following Separation (10 May 2024)

Duncan Lewis & Co Solicitors


Duncan Lewis Solicitors is an award-winning and Times 200 ranked law firm offering expert services in 25 fields, including family law, business immigration, high net divorce, personal injury, commercial litigation, property law, motoring, education and employment.
Following separation, parents often face challenging decisions, including where their children will reside and with whom. In certain instances
UK Family and Matrimonial
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

Following separation, parents often face challenging decisions, including where their children will reside and with whom. In certain instances, parents may also be confronted with the prospect of their child or children relocating, internally or externally.

What is internal and external relocation?

Internal relocation refers to a parent's decision to a different part of the UK with their child, while external relocation involves a move abroad. Despite the geographic distinction, the fundamental legal approach to deciding where the child will live remains the same: prioritising the child's best interests.

What is the legal approach to relocation?

The legal framework that the court considers when determining whether an application for relocation will be granted was set out in Payne v Payne (2001) EWCA Civ 166. Here, the court affirmed that where a parent seeks to relocate their child, there shall be no presumption in favour of the applicant parent. The welfare of the child is the paramount objective in relocation matters and should be the primary factor in deciding whether a relocation application will be granted.

How does the court decide whether to grant a relocation application?

When the court decides whether or not to grant an application for relocation, there are key factors that must be considered with great care. It should be assessed whether the motivation to move abroad is genuine i.e. not to stop contact between the child and the non-resident parent. The Court can look at whether realistic and practical steps have been taken which are focused on research and investigation. The Court can also consider the motives of the parent who is opposing the application and the reasons as to why they are opposing. It is important to determine whether the parent is opposing because they have genuine concerns about the relocation, or whether they are simply using the opportunity to take out their frustration on the other parent. The Court will also assess the potential impact on the child and the parent making the application if it was refused.

While the factors outlined above serve as guiding principles, every case is unique and requires individual assessment. Judges may consider additional factors based on the specific circumstances.

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.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More