Moving Abroad with Children: Parental Rights and Responsibilities

There may come a time when you want to move abroad with your children from a previous relationship, either temporarily or permanently.

Your decision might be based on work, a partner, or just to experience a different culture.

If you have children from a previous relationship, you might be wondering what your rights and responsibilities are.

Moving abroad with children from a previous relationship is possible. However, it does depend on you and your children’s current situation.

We can help you assess your rights and responsibilities.

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Our family law solicitors are able to help you when you are looking at travelling abroad with your children, even where your relationship with your ex is strained.

moving abroad with child after divorce

Parental Responsibility

All mothers automatically have what is called parental responsibility. Most fathers also have these legal rights and responsibilities.

Parental responsibility means that you are responsible for:

  • Providing a home
  • Protect and maintain
  • Discipline
  • Choose and provide for education
  • Agree to medical treatment
  • Naming and agreeing to any name change

for your child or children.

If you don’t automatically have parental responsibility, it may be possible for you to apply for it. Our family law solicitors can help you do this as well.

Anyone who holds parental responsibility of a child must consent to that child leaving the country. So if you wish to move abroad, the other parent needs to agree.

We can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation.
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Permission to Take Your Child Abroad

Legally, you must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility of your child before taking them abroad.

This rule applies to going on holiday or moving abroad with children.

If you don’t, in the eyes of the law you are abducting the child.

If you hold a child arrangement order which states your child must live with you, you can take them abroad for up to twenty-eight days without permission.

In cases where you share parental responsibility, a letter from your ex-partner will usually suffice in showing you have their permission.

It must be dated and signed, and include the other person’s contact details.

You should also include details about the trip or move.

Court Permission

If the other people with parental responsibility won’t give you permission, you’ll have to apply for court permission.

You must give details of your trip or move to the court.

Custody and visiting rights are unique to each country in the EU.

The court in the country where your child usually lives will be responsible for handling the case.

Despite this, custody rights may be altered to fit the new dynamic.

For example, if you’re moving abroad but share joint custody rights with your partner, it may be less disruptive for your child for you to see them less frequently.

In this case, the court may order that when you do see them, it is for longer periods of time.

All EU countries recognise that children have the right to a personal relationship and direct contact with both parents.

If you are planning on moving abroad with children to somewhere outside of the EU, the rules may be different.

We will do our best to help you avoid court.
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Disputes over Moving Abroad with Children

If your ex-partner will not give you their consent to move your children abroad, you will have to go to court, as you will have to apply for a ‘leave to remove’ order.

Before you apply, it is likely that you’ll need to go to a mediation information and assessment meeting.

Our family law solicitors are in place to guide you through this process.

When a court receives a leave to remove application concerning moving abroad permanently, they consider a lot of issues, such as:

  • The wishes of your child
  • Where they will live
  • Where they will go to school
  • What healthcare is in place
  • How capable you and any other relevant people are to meeting their needs

They will also evaluate how your child will maintain a relationship with their other parent and other family members.

You will have to draft up a plan for:

  • How often your child will spend time with their other relatives
  • Practical arrangements for funding travel and accommodation
  • How often your child will speak to their other relatives, other than face-to-face

We can help you set up child agreements after separation.
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How We Can Help

It can often be difficult to resolve disputes about your children, especially if you and your ex-partner aren’t on good terms.

If you then want to move your child to another country, the process may quickly become complicated.

That’s where our family law solicitors can help you.

Our team have a wealth of experience in parental responsibility agreements and international relocation matters.

We always handle our cases with the utmost sensitivity, and have your family’s best interests at heart.

Get in touch today using our contact form or calling on 0844 414 0667.
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