Making a Successful Child Relocation Application in the UK – IBB Solicitors

Making a Successful Child Relocation Application in the UK
Following a separation or divorce it is not uncommon for one parent to wish to move away and relocate with their child. There are many reasons that a parent may wish to relocate, such as to be closer to a family support network, change jobs or reduce their living costs.
In these cases, the other parent may proceed to challenge the relocation, particularly if it means that they would be living a significant distance away from their child were the move to go ahead and this would impact any shared care child arrangements.
At IBB Law, we can offer expert advice on child relocation cases. We specialise in working with High Net Worth individuals, having an excellent understanding of the specifics and challenges of High Net Worth divorce processes; particularly when it comes to child arrangements and finance matters.
In this blog, we will cover:
While this blog is intended to offer general information about this subject, it should not be taken as legal advice and is no substitute for speaking to an expert child lawyer. For immediate, expert advice about child relocation in the UK, please contact our child law specialists.
Where two parents are separated or divorced, if one parent wishes to relocate with their child, they may need to make an application to the Court for permission to do so.
Firstly it is important to point out to parents, there is no automatic restriction on moves within the UK. The UK is defined as Great Britain including England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it excludes the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.
Under some circumstances, it may not be necessary to apply to the Court. For instance, if you have a Child Arrangements Order that says the child lives with you and the other parent is not opposed to the move.
Essentially, if you have Parental Responsibility and you are the resident parent, child relocation law does not require you to get the permission of the other parent. There may be some exceptions, for example, if the Child Arrangements Order states weekly contact with the other parent and if this would no longer be possible due to the move.
If the other parent does not agree to relocation, they can challenge and make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order preventing the other parent from relocating or for a Specific Issue Order asking the Court to address a Specific Issue, such as the child’s schooling or upbringing.
If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place which states that your child lives with you, you may be able to relocate your child without following any kind of legal process if the other parent agrees and the child arrangements are not impacted.
However, if the move would breach the terms of any Child Arrangements Order and the other parent opposes, you will need to make an application to the Court.
The relocation of a child can be a complicated issue, which is why early legal advice is recommended.
In child relocation cases, the Court will reference the welfare checklist, outlined in the Children Act 1989.
The wording of the welfare checklist is as follows:
If there is not a Child Arrangements Order in place and the child is living with you, then you don’t need to get permission to move them within the UK. Having said this, it’s advisable to discuss the move with the other parent regardless and keep the situation amicable where possible.
It could be that the Child Arrangements Order states that the child permanently lives with you but has contact each weekend with the other parent. If the move fundamentally impacts the child arrangements and the time you spend with your child, then you’ll need the other parent to agree, alternatively, you’ll need to make a Court application.
It is advisable to seek independent legal advice before applying to the Court. Our solicitors can offer direct and unbiased advice on the best options in your circumstances.
A Specific Issue Order refers to a Court Order, used to establish and decide on specific issues related to child matters. For example, if a parent wishes to make a decision about their child’s school or upbringing and the other parent opposes, they can apply for a Specific Issue Order to establish:
To help your application to be successful, you’ll need to demonstrate to the Court that you’ve conducted detailed planning. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have carefully considered the impact that the move may have on your child.
Our solicitors at IBB Law can work with you to prepare evidence that shows your planning and improves your chances of a successful application. We can help you to prepare information such as:
Working with an expert solicitor with an in-depth knowledge of child relocation laws is the best way to ensure that your application is a success.
Under some circumstances, the Court may reject your child relocation application, refusing to grant a Specific Issue Order concerning this matter.
If the Court does not feel that the move aligns with the child’s best interests, then they can refuse to grant permission.
Where this happens, it can be difficult to have an application reconsidered. However, if you believe that the move is in your child’s best interests, please do not hesitate to contact us using the details below, for further advice and assessment of your case.
If you require support with child relocation, please get in touch with our expert child arrangements solicitors.
We appreciate that, when separating or getting divorced, finances and child residency matters can be complicated, particularly for High Net Worth individuals. Rest assured; we have much experience helping clients to navigate these matters and can offer a smooth process.
At IBB Law, our Family Law team can provide clear advice on your rights as a parent with regard to child relocation. Whether you are planning to relocate with your child or children or are concerned about plans by your ex-partner to do so, we can help.
You can have confidence in our expertise because:
You can call us on  or email us at enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.
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