Can I move away from my ex-partner?
Can I move my children away from their other parent?
Sometimes, after a separation or divorce, parents want to move to another town or city to have the support of their family or friends.
Moving with your children to another town, state or country is known as relocation. If moving is going to limit the time your children can spend with a parent or another significant person in their lives, a court may not give permission to move the children away.
The following is an example of how relocation is handled.
Jennifer and Justin (not their real names) split two years ago after a 13 year relationship. They have three children: Grace who is 12, Callum who is 10, and Jess who is seven years old. Jennifer and Justin’s separation was fairly amicable, and they obtained consent orders for the care of their children after a mediation. Justin and Jennifer agreed that the children would live with Jennifer, attend the nearby state school and see Justin on the weekends and for dinners during the week.
However, Jennifer has recently been offered a new job in Bundaberg, some 250kms away from Justin’s house. Can Jennifer leave and take the kids with her, even if Justin disagrees?
The answer is, it depends! Jennifer and Justin will have to go to mediation again to attempt to reach an agreement about the relocation of the children. If they can agree on a new arrangement, they could enter into a new parenting plan, or sign new consent orders that could be lodged with the Federal Circuit Court before Jennifer moves. This new plan may include longer stays with Justin over the school holidays to compensate for any time he loses with the children because of the move.
If Jennifer and Justin cannot come to an agreement about new arrangements for the children, either parent may apply to the Federal Circuit Court for an order. The Court will consider what living arrangements would be in the best interests of the children, and will take into account each parent’s need to move on with their lives after separation.
If Jennifer moves without consent from Jennifer or the Court, the Court may require her to return from Bundaberg with the children until an agreement has been reached, or the Court makes a decision.
The moral of this story is to seek legal advice before taking steps that will affect the time that your children regularly spend with their parents.
For more information about parenting plans, separation or mediation, call us at Cooroy Legal Centre on 5447 7637 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.