Relocating within the UK with a child

The current pandemic has caused many of us to reassess our lifestyle choices and consider relocating, perhaps out of a city to the countryside or another part of the UK to be nearer to family. However, separated parents need to carefully consider the legal position before any move. Helen Cort, Legal Director at BDB Pitmans, answers some key questions regarding this.

What should a parent do if they wish to relocate?
They should try and obtain the consent of the other parent. If they do not, they might find themselves facing a court application from the other parent trying to prevent the move.

Will the court stop a parent from relocating?
The basic principle is that a parent can live anywhere they like in the UK with the children that reside with them. The court considers the interests of both the child and parents however it is not possible to accommodate everyone’s wishes – the best interests of the child dictate the  outcome.

What does a parent need to show the court to support a proposed move?
If there is no agreement the parent needs to show the court they have genuine reasons for the move. Among other things they should:

  • Explain the motivation for the move e.g. lifestyle choice, new employment, their new partner lives there.
  • Set out practicalities such as where they and the child will  live,  what  school  the  child  will  attend.
  • Outline a proposal for the child’s contact with the other parent, confirming how long travel will take, the likely cost etc.

For further information on any of these issues please contact Helen Cort of BDB Pitmans’ specialist family team in Southampton on 02380 837707.  

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