Family & Divorce

What You Need to Know About Relocating Your Children After Separation

Relocating children after separation or divorce is a challenge with both legal and personal considerations, writes family lawyer Mia Dalcollo.

Relocating children after separation or divorce can be a legal and personal challenge, writes family lawyer Mia Dalcollo.

You may want to return to family to gain their support, or better employment prospects may draw you away. If there are children of the relationship however there are important considerations to be taken into account before the move is made.

If you have a Family Court Order

If you have obtained a Court Order from the Family Court in relation to arrangements with your children, it important to note whether there are any restrictions on relocating away from your principal place of residence. It is likely you would require either the consent of your ex-partner, or the consent of the Court. If you choose to relocate without obtaining the proper consents, your ex-partner may bring an application for an injunction to prevent you from moving. Injunctions are normally granted by the Family Court in the first instance, and then you would be given the opportunity to show why relocating would be beneficial. It will depend on your individual circumstances as to whether the injunction is lifted.

Your Court Order may also set out the agreed drop-off times and location, and you will therefore need to consider whether you can still abide by these terms. If you cannot, you may need to propose alternative arrangements with your ex-partner which will need to be agreed upon. A further Court Order may need to be drafted by your lawyer.

How relocating will affect your children

Your priority should be considering whether relocating would be in the best interests of your children. Contact arrangements become difficult if you place a significant distance between the children and both their parents. You need to ensure that moving is not to the detriment or the child’s relationship and the time spent with the other parent.

An important consideration is how your relocation will affect your children’s current lives. They may be attending school, playing sport and have friends they do not want to move away from. You need to consider how the children are going to handle spending time in two locations. Will they be able to play sport on the weekends if they are spending time with the other parent in a different location? Will they miss out on sleepovers or social activities?

A relocation may also require your children to fly by airplane or another mode of transportation to visit with their other parent. You need to consider whether your children will be comfortable travelling on their own or if they would need to be accompanied (in line with airline regulations).

How relocating will affect YOU

You may need to approach your lawyer and draft a new Court Order to outline new arrangements for the time each parent spends with the child. This would involve negotiating with your ex-partner and hopefully coming to an agreement. Lawyer fees therefore need to be considered which will largely depend on the actions of your ex-partner in the negotiation process.

Unless otherwise agreed, the costs of travel could also be your responsibility as you have moved the child away. The costs of travel may need to be considered, especially if significant airplane fares are required for each visit. Your children may not be comfortable flying on their own, and therefore additional costs may be incurred if a parent is required to accompany them on the flight.

Whilst relocating may seem to be a good idea in theory, the above considerations indicate this decision needs to be carefully planned as it can greatly impact the lives of all those involved.

Mia Dalcollo is a lawyer at TGB’s Port Lincoln office. For advice, book an appointment at your nearest TGB office.