Relationship breakdowns can be an emotional time for most adults, but even more so for any children of the family. It is essential that any decisions being made by the parents take into consideration the needs of the children as a priority.
If you are going through a separation it is important for you to reach a clear agreement regarding the children with the other parent or relatives. If this cannot be done directly between you we are able to assist in negotiations or referrals to an independent mediator to attempt to settle any disputes and reach an amicable agreement that is in the best interests of the children.
Child abduction is the removal of a child by a parent or a connected person from their country of habitual residence (the country which the child normally resides), without the permission of all those with parental responsibility or a court order.
Under the Child Abduction Act 1984 it is illegal to remove a child from the UK without permission of all those with parental responsibility or a court order.
After a relationship breakdown, one parent may choose to relocate abroad with the children, whether for employment, lifestyle or family support reasons. This is not always a straightforward process because a parent or guardian cannot simply move or travel abroad with the children unless all holders of parental responsibility provide their explicit consent.
If this is not obtained the parent or guardian intending on relocating will need to apply to court for an order permitting the relocation. There are many factors taken into account by the court when making such a decision and it must be in the best interests of the children.
Removing children from the UK without the consent of all people with parental responsibility is a criminal offence and is considered child abduction and therefore it is vital to agree with the relocation or obtain a court order to leave the country.
Prohibited Steps Order
If there is a major concern regarding the upbringing of a child, or about certain decisions which are being made by a parent which are opposed, an application can be made for a court to issue an order preventing a certain thing from happening.
Such issues would include travel abroad, relocating within the UK, changing a child's name or removal of a child from the care of a person.
Specific Issue Orders, Travel Abroad & Holidays
If parents or guardians cannot agree on major decisions regarding a child, such as removal of a child from the UK, even for a holiday, an application can be made to court to allow the travel or relocation of the child.
Legally, a parent travelling abroad with a child will need to obtain the explicit consent of all holders of parental responsibility, otherwise, a criminal offence for child abduction may be committed. Parents who have a child arrangement order for a child to live with them (or a residence order) are legally allowed to take a child out of the UK for up to one month without the need for consent.
What We Can Do
Given the complexities and sensitive nature of children disputes, it is always essential to seek advice and representation from a qualified and accredited solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and legal options.
We have extensive experience in dealing with all areas of Children Law. We are members of Resolution and hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law.
Our Past Cases
Below are some children dispute cases we have conducted in the past:
Settling a High Court application to return a child to a parent in Australia.
Agreeing to a consent order for a child arrangement order further to a relocation of the mother
Return of a child to a London borough after a mother had fled with no notice to the father and thereafter for residency of the child to change in the father's favour
Securing an order allowing relocation of a parent with the child to Canada.