Child Relocation & Disputes: Child Custody Law & Relocation (UK & International Relocation Matters)

There are many reasons why you might want to relocate to another country; it may be to be closer to family, a new job or for a new relationship. You may have plans to move away temporarily, for example if you have a fixed term job contract, or the move may be permanent. If you are planning on moving out of the country with your child or children, please contact one of our Child Custody Solicitors for expert advice.

International Child Relocation Law

The law on international relocation with children is clear. Taking a child out of the country without the express consent of each person with Parental Responsibility or permission of the Court is prohibited. The only exception to this is if there is a court order in place setting out who a child is to live with. In these circumstances the parent with whom the child lives can take the child out of the country, without the consent of the other parent, but only for up to 28 days.

If you think your former partner may be planning on taking your child out of the country without your consent and without the court’s permission then this is viewed by the law as child abduction.

If you are planning on moving away from England and your former partner is refusing to provide his consent then you could consider making an application to court.

When deciding whether to give you permission the court’s primary focus will be the welfare of the child or children. As with other applications involving arrangements for children, the court must consider the following:

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of their age and understanding).
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
  • The likely effect on the child of any change in his circumstances.
  • The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant.
  • Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
  • How capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs.

The key issues often focus around how the child will maintain a relationship with the other parent and wider family so consideration will need to be given to how often it will be possible for the child to return back to England or the other parent travel to visit.

The court also has to consider the motivations of the parent wanting to leave the jurisdiction and how well thought out their plans are. For example, do they know how they are going to meet their housing, financial and educational needs.

The court will also be wanting to reflect on whether the child has expressed any views (depending on their age and understanding) and the impact on the child of moving away from their home, school and friends. The country that they are proposing to move to is also relevant as it will dictate how practical and financially viable it will be to return regularly as well as any safety concerns around the country that they are wanting to relocate to.

The court will also take on board the impact it would have on the parent wanting to relocate, and therefore the child, if their application was refused. In one of the leading court cases on this issue, Payne v Payne, the potential distress to the mother (who was the child’s primary carer) of refusing the application was considered likely to have a negative impact on the child so they were given permission to relocate.

Each case is, of course, different and the outcome will depend on the facts of the case and the discretion of the court.

Contact Us for Help with Child Relocation

If you need help with a child relocation issue, our expert solicitors have provided premium advice on these matters to parents around Yorkshire from our offices in LeedsSheffield and York. For an initial discussion on the specific details of your case, contact our Child Law Solicitors today using the details on the enquiry form.

We provide a personalised service, with sector specialists and extensive resources to ensure we are giving you the best solutions to your problems.

Our Family Law Solicitors act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Nottingham.  We can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

For a no obligation initial consultation please either call the office or leave your details using the contact form at the top of this page.  We’ll be happy to help.



Contact us for Expert Advice on Internal Child Relocation Matters

Our expert solicitors are dedicated to providing one-on-one support during the process of applying to relocate a child to another country, and of course, where parents have concerns about the other parent’s intentions.

If you require assistance in understanding the law and would like a friendly and confidential discussion with no obligations, contact us today on 0330 404 6443, email us or fill in the enquiry form on this page and we will get back to you shortly.

Lupton Fawcett have a leading team of Family Lawyers in Yorkshire with well-established offices of highly experienced solicitors in LeedsSheffield and York.

We provide a personalised service, with child law specialists and extensive resources to ensure we are giving you the best solutions to your problems.

Our Family Law Solicitors act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Nottingham.

We can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

Richard Buckley represented me in, what turned out to be, highly contested court proceedings . Richard was very professional, knowledgeable and meticulous in his approach and he fought my corner when necessary. My divorce was not an easy one; it was very stressful but Richard always listened, put me at ease and took time to explain everything to me, making sure I understood his advice. He is very good at listening and keeping me on track. Richard doesn’t make me feel like a number, but a valued client. If anyone is looking for a family solicitor, I would not hesitate in recommending Richard.

Mr D Pickles

I cannot recommend Lupton Fawcett enough, I have just been through a very complicated and high conflict financial divorce but throughout the whole experience Richard Buckley and Chris Burns were always on hand to give reassurance, incredibly sound advice and straightforward explanations when things got difficult. For anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation I highly recommend this firm, it’s the best decision you’ll make.

Nicola Shuttleworth

I instructed Chris Burns to advise me in relation to various financial issues which arose following the breakdown of my marriage. My case involved a dispute with my former husband over the ownership and occupation of a significant property with adjacent land. Chris steered me through the process of resolving this. Despite resistance from my former husband, Chris advised me with a determined focus and provided me with clear and pragmatic advice throughout the process and achieved my objective within the proceedings.


It’s rare to come across someone like Chris (Burns), absolutely clued up in his area, pragmatic and direct, yet supportive and respectful. As clients, he guided us through the process, quickly picking out what was important, remaining focused on the end game and delivering more than we could have expected. We would not hesitate to recommend Chris.


I would highly recommend Richard (Buckley) at Lupton Fawcett. He understood the difficult and sensitive nature of divorce and was reassuring and professional throughout. He explained the process clearly from the start and was always quick to respond

Charlotte H

'Chris Burns – experienced, capable, easy to talk to, provides an all round specialised knowledge of family work.‘

Legal 500 2021
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Chris Burns, Head of Family Law, discusses the new divorce laws

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