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During the separation process, issues regarding the child(ren) of the family are often the most difficult and contentious. Matters can become more complex when one parent wishes to relocate to another part of the UK with the child(ren). This may be to return to a family support network, for work purposes, or simply to start anew. Whatever the reason, relocation can cause significant disruption to a child’s relationship with one or both parents. It is therefore crucial to ensure the correct procedures are followed if relocation is an option.

If you have parental responsibility, under the law in England and Wales, there is currently no requirement to obtain the consent of the non-resident parent. While permission is not required, it is advised to make the process simpler and less stressful for all involved. If permission is not obtained, you risk your former partner, making an application to the court to prevent your move.

The party wishing to prevent the relocation may ask the court to consider one of the following orders:-

  • A prohibited steps order preventing the child’s relocation;
  • A specific issue order relating to an issue such as schooling; or
  • A child arrangements order

When making a decision, the court is likely to consider the following factors:-

  • Employment prospects
  • Accommodation
  • Education
  • Childcare
  • Finances
  • Environmental factors
  • Family relationships and maintenance of contact arrangements

The court may not grant permission for relocation if the parent wishing to relocate has shown no compelling reason for the move and the child is currently enjoying a good standard of life with the non-resident parent which would be adversely affected by the move.

Seeking the right legal advice

Navigating relocation matters after a separation or divorce requires careful consideration and, when necessary, seeking expert legal advice. If you find yourself contemplating a move with your child(ren) post-separation/divorce, your initial step should be attempting to establish mutual agreement. However, in cases where reaching consensus proves unattainable, the next crucial step is securing expert legal assistance to facilitate the process of obtaining permission to relocate.

Conversely, as a parent, if your former spouse expresses intentions to relocate with your child(ren), you can speak to the child law experts at Ramsdens, irrespective of your stance on the matter.

Whether you consent to the relocation or not, obtaining professional legal advice is essential. In cases of disagreement, legal guidance becomes particularly crucial to understand your position in potential court proceedings and to determine the necessary representations you should make.

Please call our family helpline on 08000 147720 or send us an email


The above article is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any part of the information given.