Following a separation, one parent may wish to move to another state, town or country with their child to be closer to family or for employment or other reasons. In family law this is known as ‘relocation’.
What does the law say?
The Family Law Act provides that a child has a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents. If one parent wishes to move away with a child, the impact on the child’s ability to maintain their relationship with the other parent must be considered.
Whether relocation is permitted depends on several factors. These include the distance of the proposed relocation, the existing arrangements and how the proposed relocation will impact on them, the child’s age and proposals for contact with the other parent. A child’s best interests are the paramount consideration.
Do I need permission from the other parent if I want to relocate?
Relocation is a long-term decision that both parents should make. If an agreement can’t be reached, an application may be made to the Court for a ruling. If you move without the permission of the other parent or the Court, an order requiring the return of the child can be made.
How does the Court deal with relocation cases?
It generally takes between 6 and12 months to determine a relocation application as the Court needs time to properly investigate which arrangements might be in a child’s best interests. In some urgent cases, it may be possible to have an expedited hearing.
Relocation is a complex and difficult area of family law. We can advise you about your options.