Wanting to relocate outside of England and Wales with your child following separation? Here’s what you need to know! 

In couples who have separated, you may find that one person wishes to relocate outside of the country, in which case there are rules and regulations for this to be granted. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to do to ensure that you have permission to take your child out of England and Wales upon separation. 


By leaving the country without the consent of the other parent, you are committing a criminal offence of child abduction.  If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent, you must apply to court for permission – this is called a Specific Issue Order. 

If you leave the jurisdiction without the consent of the other parent, you are likely to become embroiled in abduction proceedings and you could be ordered to return to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. You should, therefore, seek permission from the court to relocate. Mediation is an option to consider before making an application to determine if there is any scope to reach an agreement. 


The child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration and is at the forefront of any decision making when considering any children application. 

The court will only grant permission to relocate if it can be proven that the relocation is in the child’s best interests. The court will apply the welfare checklist, which includes wishes and feelings of the child, their age, their needs etc.  This is not an extensive list. The court will consider the child’s age and degree of maturity when determining how much weight to apply to their voice.   


Motivation for the relocation is key. Careful planning is needed to demonstrate a genuine desire to relocate. Get your ducks in a row! 

It must be demonstrated to the court that there is a genuine motivation to relocate, and this is not an application driven by an attempt to remove the involvement of the other parent from the child’s life. A case will only be successful if a true motivation and genuine desire can be demonstrated with careful planning, thought, thorough investigation, and evidence. This application should not be made on a ‘whim’. 


You must be able to establish continued involvement of the other parent. Put together a contact plan. 

The court will expect to see a generous and practical proposal in relation to contact, which could include contributing to costs of travel and accommodation. The plan should carefully show the frequency and duration of contact. This is very important in any relocation application – the more detail the better as the court need to be convinced that contact can be maintained at a reasonable level with the other parent.  Your proposals should include direct and indirect contact.   


Can you prove you have considered living arrangements, income, schooling, support, and all the practicalities surrounding the move?  This is essential.

The court will want to see clear evidence that you have considered all practical arrangements. Evidence will need to be produced in relation to schooling, employment, and income. It is also important to demonstrate what support you will have in the country you seek to relocate to for example family / friends. it is important to demonstrate to the court that the child would be afforded a better life in the country you desire to live. 

It is always advisable to speak with a specialist before making any court application to ensure you have the best opportunity in succeeding and any hurdles/obstacles have been well thought through in advance. It is worth knowing that Legal Aid is available in some circumstances for relocation proceedings. In this case, MSB have specialists who can assess you for legal aid from the outset and discuss alternative payment options.  

For more information, get in touch with Katie Camozzi at katiecamozzi@msbsolicitors.co.uk. 

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