courtesy of UK law firm, Pannone
Whether you started a family overseas and are looking to come home after a divorce or you’ve been divorced and are now looking to move abroad the laws surrounding your right to take your children with you can cause a lot of confusion.
The laws from country to country of course do vary so be sure to find out the exact laws in the countries your concerned with, but in the UK and the majority of other countries the law is quite straight forward, to take a child overseas for even a short amount of time requires the permission of both parents unless a family court has specifically ruled otherwise in your case. So even if your child has little or no contact with their other parent you need to ensure that you have their permission before taking your child away or else you could find yourself facing charges of child abduction.As more and more families become global the number of cases of this kind of child abduction is sharply increasing, In fact a survey conducted by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague and Cardiff University in 2008 showed that in just 5 years the number of cases of these kinds of international child abductions had risen by 45%, the majority of these cases are mothers taking their own children overseas. In the experience of the UK family law firm Panonne the majority of these cases come down to parents miss understanding the law. Even if a parent has custody of a child both parents must consent before a child can be allowed to leave the country.
Moving countries can be a difficult time for any child particularly if it is soon after a divorce and having their parent face charges of child abduction will only make things worse, therefore it is important to make sure you go through all the appropriate channels before taking your child overseas, whether it’s to start a new life or return to your home country.
Although a family court can avoid the necessity of having permission from your children’s other parent these kind of court battles can be very emotional and unpleasant so where at all possible you should first seek to obtain your former partners permission on your own terms. A conversation like this can be extremely difficult particularly if your child is close to their other parent. You should go into the conversation well prepared and able to convince your former partner that taking your children overseas will give them a better quality of life, bring along as much evidence as you can in the form of photographs and information about the area you want to take your children too. Areas that are likely to come up in the conversation include:
Quality of accommodation and area where children will be living
Education system and how easily you’re children will be able to adapt to a new curriculum
Your finances, what are your job prospects there and can you afford to raise your family, are you entitled to child benefits?
How much contact your former partner is likely to have with the children, how often will they visit him?
If you are able to gain your former partners consent the whole process will be made a lot easier, if however they are against the idea and you are still determined to leave, then you will need to take your case to a family court. A family court will aim to rule in your Childs best interest, the factors that are taken into consideration by the judge are:
• Your motivation – are you seeking a better life for your children or just selfishly trying to deny your partner access.
• Your preparation – moving over seas requires a lot of research and work, if the court doesn’t think you are properly prepared they are likely to rule against you.
• The effect the move will have on your children’s relationship with their other parent. – if your children’s other parent is not very involved with your child or is not a good parent a court is likely to rule against them, however if they currently have a lot of good contact with your children the court will be reluctant to interfere with this.
• What other relationships will your children have overseas – The court will be reluctant to take your children away from friends and family they have grown up with, however if you can demonstrate they will have a similar support network in their new home, perhaps you are moving near your own parents the court will take this into consideration.
• What is the alternative – if you can prove that your children are a lot worse off staying here the court may rule in your favour.
Court should always be one of the last options you consider as it can be quite unsettling for both you and your child, if however you are thinking of taking this route more information can be found in the UK law firm Pannone’s divorce advice guide.