Lord Justice Thorpe has recently produced a paper entitled “Relocation – the Search for Common Principles”.The paper referred to a meeting which Lord Justice Thorpe attended in March 2010 in which 50 judges and experts agreed guidelines they would consider when hearing applications to take children to live abroad.
At this meeting, it was decided that the best interests of the children should be the most important factor to be considered. It was also agreed that in deciding whether an application by a parent to take a child to live abroad should be granted or refused, judges should consider the following factors:
1. The child’s right to maintain a relationship (including direct contact) with both parents on a regular basis (except where contact is not in the child’s best interests).
2. The wishes and feelings of the child bearing in mind their age and maturity.
3. The applying party’s practical arrangements put in place regarding accommodation, schooling and employment.
4. The reason for the application to remove the child and any reasons for opposition.
5. Any family history of abuse (physical or emotional).
6. Family background including the quality of past and current care and contact.
7. Current custody and access arrangements.
8. The impact of grant or refusal upon the child, including their relationship with extended family, education and social life and upon the parties.
9. The commitment of the applicant to ensure a continuing relationship between the child and the parent left behind after the move abroad.
10. The party’s proposals for contact after moving abroad bearing in mind cost and the burden to the child.
11. The enforceability of contact in the country to which the child will be moving.
12. Issues of mobility for family members and any other circumstances the judge may feel are relevant.
Should you require any legal advice regarding relocation, please contact Melanie Townsend or Tanya Foster on 01992 892214.