Relocation cases are difficult cases in family law as they involve one parent seeking to relocate with the child or children either intrastate, interstate or internationally.
In relocation cases the Court must make orders which are in the children’s best interests but many of the usual relevant considerations in parenting cases are amplified as the child’s time with the remaining parent will likely become less frequent due to distance and therefore the question becomes whether a meaningful relationship can be maintained with the remaining parent and other important persons despite the distance. Whether the child is allowed to relocate or not will of course leave one parent feeling as though they have “lost” and they will undoubtedly feel distressed by the decision.
The Court has jurisdiction to make orders with respect to children but does not have the power to restrict the freedom of movement of a parent. In many cases before the Court however, the parent seeking to relocate will not relocate unless the child is permitted to relocate.
There is no separate set of legislative guidelines dealing with the issue of relocation in the Family Law Act and therefore these cases are dealt with under the same provisions that apply to normal parenting cases. The “best interests of the child” remains the paramount consideration, although it is not the sole consideration in determining the issue of relocation. In determining what is in the best interests of the child the Court have regard to the factors set out in section 60CC of the Family Law Act.
Although an applicant is not required to show compelling reasons for the relocation, it can be useful to adduce evidence as to the following considerations:
- Accommodation availability
- Employment prospects
- Whether you have extended family/friends for support
- The emotional health and wellbeing of the relocating parent
- Whether the relocating parent has re-partnered
- Expense of travel
Over the past 12 months Nicholes Family Lawyers have been involved in a number of relocation cases including international relocations where we have been successful in obtaining orders to relocate and we have also successfully defended relocation applications.
If you are considering relocating then we suggest you seek legal advice from our lawyers who have significant expertise in relocation cases.