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Disputes about whether a parent can move their children away from their usual place of residence can be one of the most difficult areas of family law.  These cases are usually very emotional for both parents, as whatever the outcome of the case, one parent will almost certainly be very disappointed by the outcome.

The law relating to the “relocation” of children is not considered in family law to be a special or discreet area of law, but part of the overall consideration of what is in the best interests of a child in all of their circumstances.  One parent cannot prevent the other parent from moving to a new town, State or Country, but the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia does have the authority to prevent a change to the place a child lives.

The 2007 the case of Morgan & Miles stated that in a relocation case the Court must consider that:

(a) The best interests of the children remain the paramount, but not sole consideration.

(b) The parent wishing to move does not need to demonstrate a compelling reason for their desire to move.

(c) The Judicial Officer determining the case must consider all proposals and may themselves be required to formulate a proposal that is in the best interest of the child.

(d) The best interest of the child must be weighed and balanced against the right of the proposed relocating parent’s freedom of movement. 

Where there is a dispute, whether a parent will be permitted to change a child’s place of residence requires the Court to consider all of the child’s circumstances, including the benefits and detriments to the child of the proposed move.  If the relationship between the child and the parent who is left behind cannot be adequately maintained if the child moves away, then the Court may prevent the move from occurring.

If relocation is an issue for you or your child, please contact our family law team to arrange an appointment.

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