Moving away with children after separation


Cases in which a parent wishes to relocate intrastate, interstate, or overseas with a child following separation are some of the most challenging family law cases.

Without the other parent’s consent, we do not recommend that you relocate with a child unless:

  • You obtain a court order permitting you to do so,
  • You are acting on legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in family law, or
  • There are emergency circumstances (such as fleeing domestic violence) that make the relocation necessary and you do not have an opportunity to obtain legal advice. 

When deciding a contested relocation case, the Court does not follow any “black-and-white” rules. Instead, the Court looks at the specific circumstances of the case and decides what is in the children’s “best interests”.

This involves balancing the advantages and disadvantages to the child of moving, including any opportunities they or the relocating parenting will have once relocated as well as the the likely impact on the child from the inevtiable reduction in time spent with the “left-behind” parent.

It is a criminal offence to take a child overseas whilst a parenting order is in force (section 65Y) or an application for parenting orders is pending in the Court (section 65Z), unless the travel is (a) permitted by a court order, or (b) you have the authenticated consent (this requires a special form of witnessing) in writing of the other parent.

How we can help

If you are thinking about relocating with a child, we can help you understand the likelihood that the Court will approve the proposal.

We can also help you negotiate the relocation with the other parent or their lawyers, and represent you in Court if you ultimately decided to make a relocation application.

If you are the “left behind” parent and do not consent to the relocation, we can help you understand your prospects of having the relocation application dismissed or (if the other parent has already relocated) your prospects of obtaining urgent court orders requiring the return of the other parent and the child.

If you have concerns about international abduction, we can assist you making an application for the children to be placed on the Family Law Watchlist / Airport Watchlist and also also advise you whether you have any rights under the Hague Convention (this will depend on the country the child is abducted to).

Book a Free Introductory Call

In this free 15-minute call, we will confirm if we can assist with your case, answer any questions you have about our services, and discuss the next steps. This call is with David Gale, Director & Accredited Specialist in Family Law.