With the opening of borders across Europe and the recent growth of the internet and cheap travel, it is becoming increasingly common for children to have parents who are of different nationality to one another. However, should the parents separate, what happens if one parent wants to return to their home country with the child?
This is a question I am frequently asked as a family lawyer and it is understandably a highly emotive issue between parents. Should a parent leave the country with their child without the other parent’s consent they could face criminal charges for child abduction. Therefore consent is essential and if it is not forthcoming from the other parent you will need to apply to the court for a judge to decide.
When the court considers whether such a move with the child should be allowed, the child’s welfare is paramount and the court will apply what is known as the welfare checklist. The checklist includes factors such as the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child, the wishes and feelings of the child, the capability of the parent to meet the child’s needs and the likely effect on the child. The proposed arrangements need to be considered carefully and the greater part the parent who would be left behind plays in the child’s life, the greater impact/damage upon the child if the move is allowed.
If you wish to make the move with your child, preparation and research is imperative. Also focus on how your child’s relationship with their other parent can be maintained if the move is allowed. The court needs to be sure that the proposed move is genuine, realistic and above all in the child’s best interests.
It is a very difficult issue with many factors to consider. Whether you are the parent wishing to make the move or the parent opposing the move, early legal advice is essential.
This was a guest post by Patricia Robinson Senior Associate at divorce solicitors Pannone LLP. For more information visit their website at http://www.pannone.com/.