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Urgent action required if child taken by one parent without court order or agreement of parents
Court will determine the case based on what is in the best interest of the child
It is always difficult when one parent wishes to move from the area where the mother, father and child lived before separation.
If a parent wishes to relocate with a child it is appropriate to make an application to the Court for an order if you and the other parent do not agree as to what is appropriate in the circumstances.
There are legitimate reasons why one parent wishes to move from the area where the parents and the child lived before separation, for example, so that the parent can be close to family, close to employment opportunities or there is a new relationship. These are very difficult circumstances for all concerned.
What is imperative is that one considers the best interest of the child and puts forward appropriate evidence so the Court is satisfied as to the best interest of the child.
Recently Watson & Watson has received instructions in numerous cases relating to relocation. In some cases (unfortunately more than one would hope) one parent absconds with the child and takes the child to a new environment without discussing the matter with the other parent, without consultation and sometimes without even advising them. Is this in the best interest of the child?
One would think that it is not in the best interest of the child in most cases. Of course there are some cases which may be in the best interest of the child, for example, if the child is at risk if the child remains in the district.
Daily we are told that the Court does not have sufficient time to deal with all the cases that need to be dealt with. However, there are circumstances where the Court can and will deal with urgent applications.
One thing is for sure, namely if an arrangement is working and has been for some time since separation, if one of the parents take a unilateral stance and removes the child without authority this will cause grief to the other party, the child and it could very well backfire on the person that takes the unilateral position to remove the child without the appropriateCourt order.
If you find yourself in a position where a child is taken without your consent or knowledge then urgent action is required to have the child returned if that is your wish.
If there is a significant delay in making the application the child will usually have established a new relationship, new surrounds which will include new friends and if of school age a new school.
In all cases careful consideration must be given to the factual matters and the factual matrix. It is important in those circumstances that you maintain a good record of where the child lives and what are the circumstances which gives rise to the difficult question as to whether the child should be allowed to relocate. This will assist us in the preparation of the matter, the proper consideration of the matter and obtaining the proper advice as to what is the likely outcome of any dispute.
There are numerous factual matters which deals with the best interest of the child, however the categories of relevant matters, are not limited.
If you take the law into your own hands and an application is made resulting in the child being returned this can and usually causes devastating results for the person who took the child without the appropriate Court order.
Watson & Watson are experienced in dealing with these matters. We believe that if more thought is given to the steps taken particularly possibly in frustration or concerning yourself with your own wishes rather than what is in the best interest of the child, a better outcome can be achieved.
Dennis Grant and Richard Watson are experienced Family Law Solicitors having acted for many parents who find themselves in these difficult positions.
Please contact Richard Watson if you wish to discuss any matter relating to children’s issues or your financial or property settlement issues.
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