We can help you with legal advice and legal representation services concerning decisions to move abroad with a child or to relocate within the UK, known in legal terms as 'leave to remove' cases. In particular, we can:
Advise you on whether you are permitted to move with a child overseas or elsewhere in the UK
Represent you in negotiations with your child's other parent and if necessary in any application to the family court for a leave to remove application or a prohibited steps/specific issue order if you cannot agree.
If you want to take a child out of the UK you must obtain the permission of anyone you share parental responsibility with (unless you have a child arrangements order saying that your child lives with you, in which case you can take your child out of the UK for up to 28 days without permission).
If you want to move abroad, you will need the permission of your child’s other parent/s if you share parental responsibility with them. If parents cannot agree, then the family court can decide whether to allow a relocation abroad by making (or refusing) an order giving ‘leave to remove’. To reach a decision the court will want to know how contact will be maintained with the left behind parent, and to understand what the benefits of moving will be for the child. Your child’s welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration.
If you want to relocate within the UK, then there is technically no need for your child’s other parent to give permission. However, if you share parental responsibility you should reach agreement, since either parent can make an application to the family court for a prohibited steps order preventing a relocation. The family court will decide whether to give permission for the move and your child’s welfare will be the paramount consideration.
We can help you with legal advice and legal representation services to manage negotiations with your child’s other parent/s and/or any court application which is made. We can also advise on your legal rights if there is a question about whether you are a legal parent or have parental responsibility; we specialise particularly in working with LGBT+ parents and families conceived through IVF, donor conception and surrogacy for whom legal status is not always clear.
We know that leave to remove applications are deeply emotional as the outcome is nearly always a binary one which may have an enormous impact on the parent who is unsuccessful. Good strategic legal representation from the outset can in many cases be absolutely critical.