Rebecca Savage, family solicitor with Major Family Law, the best divorce and family law niche specialist solicitors, Newcastle comments in an ever shrinking world, it’s not uncommon for people to spend periods working or living abroad or have a relationship with someone from another country.

At Major Family Law we are proud to assist people all over the world. As a modern family practice distance is no barrier to us providing specialist legal advice and we have clients throughout Europe and further afield in the USA, Hong Kong, India and Australia.

International families are not unusual and the family unit now comes in many shapes and forms.

When a relationship ends, inevitably decisions have to be made about where both parties and any children shall live. For parties who have family overseas or the opportunity of employment abroad, this may result in difficult and complex decisions about whether the children should also relocate.  For the parent who will be ‘left behind’ the prospect of being many miles away from their children can cause a great amount of distress and worry.

If a parent wants to move to another part of England & Wales, they do not necessarily need the consent of the other parent, but they do need to ensure the move is well planned and thought out, with appropriate arrangements being made for the children to maintain a relationship with their other parent. If, however, the other parent objects to the move, it is open to them to apply to the Court for judicial determination of this issue.

Where the proposed move involves international relocation, the position is different in that the parent wishing to move abroad must obtain the consent of the other parent and if this is not forthcoming they must apply to the Court for permission to relocate. Without the other parent’s consent or the permission of the Court, any move abroad with children could be considered child abduction. Upon deciding an application for relocation abroad the Court will consider carefully the reasons for the move, the arrangements which shall be made and the effect of the move on the children, particularly in terms of an ongoing relationship with the non-resident parent.

Like most family situations, the decision of the Court will depend on the individual circumstances of each case. For those considering relocation or facing the possibility of their children relocating, early legal advice is highly advisable.