Can the Other Parent take my Child & move away?
Does a parent need the permission of the other parent to move somewhere else in the same State, in a different State or Overseas – if they want to relocate to live somewhere else with the child?
A Court most certainly has the power to Order where a Child is to live, not just who the Child is to live with. Generally, the Court cannot prevent a parent from relocating to live somewhere else, however the Court most definitely has the power to stop a parent from taking their child to live with them in the new locality, if that area will be some distance away from the other parent and so interfere with the amount of time the other parent usually spends with the Child, or the other parent having a meaningful relationship with their Child.
This issue can come up, either if a parent says they want to move away, but may also arise if the parent simply just moves away without either notifying the other parent, or perhaps does tell them, but moves away with the Child against the other Parent’s wishes.
We’re on friendly terms: When should I worry about possible Relocation by the other parent
Imagine this. Your relationship has broken up, you have separated and are living apart but you are all still living in the same area. Nobody is thinking about relocating to live any distance away, you have both reached agreement on where the Children live, how much time they spend with each of your and pretty much most parenting arrangements. Everything seems to be working out okay and you do not want to do anything to rock the boat at all, you want to keep it all as friendly and as amicable as possible. This is the way it goes for a lot of parents. At least for a while.
Often there will be some sort of agreement with your former partner for parenting arrangements and you don’t want to make the other parent angry by trying to put your parenting arrangements in writing, or make it official and binding by putting it into Consent Orders made by the Court.
Those are common situations.
Especially if you are the parent who doesn’t have your child living with you most of the time, you may have a niggling concern about the other parent taking their child to live with them somewhere else in the state (out of your general area or future away), or even in another state or overseas.
But unfortunately in today’s world especially, things change:
- A parent may want to move to a place where they have more family support or assistance;
- They may want to move back to the place they are originally from;
- Your former partner will eventually get a new spouse. Their new partner might live somewhere else (especially in this age of internet dating);
- Your former spouse will eventually re-partner and that new partner might get a job somewhere else or need to live somewhere else closer to their children;
- The other parent may feel like they need a fresh start in a new location;
- A parent might be offered a better job;
- They might be offered a promotion in another area.
Any one of these things (or another reason entirely) could have you facing a situation where you wake up and find out your former partner has moved somewhere else without telling you, or is about to do that.
Parents who are separated but have been able to remain on the friendliest of terms, will still look after themselves first and choose not to tell you something they know you won’t agree with, if they can get away with it, or may just be intent on deciding to move away even though they know the other parent won’t think that is best for the Child or their relationship with the other child.
The best time to get your former partner to agree to a clause preventing them from relocating is before their circumstances change and they start thinking about it.
They will usually be happy to agree to having Orders containing a clause preventing them from relocating if they do not intend to move anywhere else.
If you are on friendly terms, then it should be easy to get your agreement into Consent Orders.
If you have Consent Orders including a relocation clause then everyone knows where they stand and all cards are on the table.
If your former spouse does not want to have Consent Orders including a Relocation Clause, then you have to ask why not – are they hiding something or hedging their bets to keep options open for the future.
Simply doing a Parenting Plan (or any document other than Consent Orders) containing a clause preventing relocation will not be sufficient to protect you. For more, see our information sheets What is a Parenting Plan and Parenting Plans -v- Consent Orders.
Relocation – More Information
The sorts of things a Court wants to know, this issues and what a considers if they are deciding a case involving a parent who either has already moved away or who wants to move away, is explained in the information sheet How does a court decide Relocation cases if a parent moves away or wants to move away.
If you already have a Court Order or are getting a Court Order then you should also read our information sheet Court Orders & Relocation explained in full.
Our information sheet The other parent might Relocate: Do I need to do anything might also be helpful to you.
Relocation, Domestic & International Child Abduction: More Information
We also have the following pages providing additional information in relation to both Relocation of a Parent with a Child within Australia (domestically) and International Child Abduction:
- Can I stop the other Parent Relocating with my Child
- We’re on friendly terms – Do I worry about possible relocation
- The other parent might relocate: Do I need to do anything?
- Court Orders about Relocation explained in full
- How does a Court decide Relocation Cases if a Parent moves away or wants to move away
- Documenting your Parenting Agreement in a Binding and Enforceable way
- List of Hague Convention Countries
- What happens when a Child is taken to a Hague Convention Country
- What happens when a Child is taken to a Non-Hague Convention Country
- How to get a Passport for a Child
- How to make a Special Circumstances Application for a Child Passport
- Stopping a Child Travelling overseas: Child already has Passport
- Stopping a Child Travelling Overseas: No Passport for Child Issued yet
- Court Orders regarding Passports and Overseas Travel Orders
- Matters considered by Courts regarding issuing a Passport or making an Overseas Travel Order
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All Topics in the Child Issues Section
- Types of Parental Responsibility Orders
- Child’s Time with Parents: Shared Care or not
- Grandparents: Rights to see Grandchildren
- Documenting a Parenting Agreement
- Best Interests of the Children
- Relocation of a Parent with a Child
- Change of a Child’s Surname
- Child Passports & Overseas Travel after Separation or Divorce
- How to change a Final Parenting Order previously made by the Court
- International Child Abduction