Can I Move to Live Abroad With My Child?

Fathers rights

There are many reasons why one parent may wish to take a child to live abroad and it is often the case that the other parent doesn't agree to this. In this article we look at the law surrounding this complex issue.

Who can remove a child from the UK and for how long?

A parent with whom there is a Court order in place stating that the child shall live with them may take that child out of the UK for up to one month without the other parents consent. 

A parent with whom the children do not live with must get the other parents consent to take the child out of the UK if the other parent has parental responsbility for the child.

The removal of a child from one part of the UK to another, e.g from England to Scotland) is not a removal that requires prior written consent or the court’s permission.

How does the Court decide if a child can permanently live abroad? 

In order for the Court to decide if a parent can liveabroad with a child, the following questions will normally be asked:

  • Is the application genuinely motivated rather than being driven by a desire to exclude the other parent from the child’s life?
  • Is the application “realistically founded on practical proposals” that are both well researched and investigated?
  • What would the impact be on the applicant of a refusal of their realistic proposal, either as a single parent or as a new spouse?
  • Is the other parents opposition motivated by genuine concern for the child’s welfare or driven by an ulterior motive?
  • What is the extent of the detriment to the other parent and his/her future relationship with the child, if the application was granted?
  • To what extent would the detriment be offset by development of the child’s relationships with extended family members and homeland?

Top Tips for the parent wishing to move 

  • Have a well worked out plan, ideally with housing, schooling and practical proposals for contact
  • Make clear the genuineness of the application and the reasons for it.
  • Show a willingness to promote the relationship between the child and the other parent. This could include sharing travel costs.
  • Consider whether the other parent could also move to live near the children.
  • Show the court that the suggested move is in the the child’s best interests and what the child will gain from such a move.

Top Tips for the parent wishing to oppose the move

  • Study the proposed plan. Can it be demonstrated that it is an unworkable plan?
  • Look at the other parents motivation. Can it be demonstrated that the application is motivated by a wish to reduce contact with the child?
  • Demonstrate to the Court how difficult it would be to continue to have a full and meaningful relationship with the child. 
  • Whether the parent opposing the move can actaully move abroad with the child. If not, there needs to be an explanation why. 
  • Demonstrate that the plan to relocate is not in the child's best interests.


If you require advice regarding an applicatiion for a child to live abroad then please get in touch with one of our specialist family law experts by calling 0113 2446978 or use the contact form below to arrange a free consultation.