What is relocation?

Relocation happens when you or your ex-partner decide to move away to another suburb, state or country and relocate with your child or children. This can obviously cause some issues surrounding when and how a parent can spend time with or live with their child/ren. A parent may need to relocate because of numerous reasons including employment, family or health reasons.

What should I do if I’m considering relocation?

If your child/ren live primarily with you and you plan to move away from the other parent, you should first speak to them about your intentions to relocate in order to come to an agreement. If you need to relocate, you should discuss future arrangements that facilitate meaningful interaction between the child/ren and other parent. Generally speaking, parental responsibility is shared equally and therefore any major decisions regarding the child or children’s long-term care, welfare and development should be made together.

What happens if I don’t consult the other parent about me wanting to relocate with my child?

Relocation cases arise when one parent makes a unilateral decision to relocate without the consultation or consent of the other. If you move without consent of the other parent or in violation of an existing order, you may be ordered by the Court to return whilst the case is heard. You may also apply to the Court for a recovery order which authorises a third party, generally the Australia Federal Police, to take action to find, recover and return your child/ren.

Before this issue arrives at Court, both parties must attempt to resolve the issue through alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. The Court may hear an urgent application, for example, in the event a parent has fled the country with the child/ren.

Either party can make an application to the Court. If you are wanting to relocate, you can apply to the Court for a relocation order. If you oppose the relocation, you can make an application asking the Court for an order to stop the relocation.

When making a relocation order the Court will consider a parent’s reasons for relocating but ultimately give paramount consideration to what is in the best interests of the child/ren. There are a number of primary and additional considerations, contained in the Family Law Act, that the Courts must look to in order to determine what is the best interests of the child/ren.

A primary consideration is that the child/ren continue to benefit from a meaningful relationship with both parents. If a relocation order is made, that can mean the child/ren regularly communicate with the other parent via telephone and video conferencing facilities like Zoom and FaceTime. It may also mean that considerable periods of time such as school holidays and annual holidays are spent entirely with the other parent in order to continue nurturing a meaningful relationship.

What can I do to prevent my former partner to relocate with my child overseas?

If you are concerned that your ex-partner wants to take your child/ren overseas for any reason and you do not consent, there are avenues you can pursue to prevent it.

Child Alert Request

If your child does not yet have a passport you can request a child passport alert. Essentially, the alert places additional scrutiny on any passport application made for the child. In order to request an alert, you must have parental responsibility for the child. Please note that a child passport alert does not guarantee a passport will be refused. Please visit here should you require further information.

Family Law Watchlist

The Australian Federal Police maintain the Watchlist which is designed to monitor the movement of children, identifying whether a child is leaving Australia. There are a number of circumstances where a child may appear on the Watchlist including where the child is the subject of:

  • An existing parenting order or ongoing parenting order application limiting or preventing overseas travel;
  • An injunction limiting or preventing overseas travel;
  • An application for an order to place the child on the Watchlist; or
  • A parenting order or injunction under appeal.

 

Ramsden Family Law

If you meet these criteria, you will first have to complete a Family Law Watchlist Request Form. In order to confirm whether a child is on the Watchlist, you will need to complete a Family Law Watchlist Enquiry Form. Please visit here should you require further information about the Watchlist.

Contact Ramsden Family Lawyers today for assistance with your former partner wanting to relocate with your child, or any further enquiries.