When parents separate, it is not uncommon for one parent to consider moving away or in circumstances where they may have moved to Australia for work reasons wish to return overseas. Generally, parents consider relocating for the following reasons:
- Family support and moving to where parents and siblings can provide additional assistance;
- New relationship;
- New employment and increased income;
- Lifestyle concerns including cheaper housing;
- To escape family violence and emotional abuse;
- No longer wish to live in Australia and seek to return to their country of birth.
Before moving, you are required to obtain your spouse’s consent. Therefore it is important that you take into consideration:
- how the move will affect the child;
- proposals for schools;
- how the other parent will continue their relationship with the child.
If however a parent moves without seeking the other parent’s consent then the parent left behind may lodge an urgent application with the Court seeking an order for the child’s return and the return of the other parent.
Matters which the Court may take into consideration in relocation cases are:
1. How close is the relationship between the child and the parent that is not relocating and how viable are the proposals for the time the child is to spend with that parent.
2. Is a move with the primary caregiver the least detrimental alternative?
3. Are the travel costs for the parent not relocating excessive?
4. Should the other parent also consider moving?
Therefore a decision to move overseas or interstate should be considered carefully not only in relation to the impact on the child but also in relation to the other parent and their ability to continue their relationship with the child.