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When one half of a separating couple decides to move abroad, it most likely makes the healing process a lot easier, but in cases involving children and divorce, it can complicate things somewhat. Many people find it difficult to agree where the child will live and when they will spend time with each parent, so attempting to do so when international relocation is involved is even more complicated.

Every divorce case is different. Some are quick and relatively hassle-free, while others are hostile and extremely difficult for everyone involved. It’s for this reason that it’s important to consider every possibility, and your first step should always be to seek international divorce advice from a family lawyer.

On this page, we will run through some important things to know about international family law ranging from agreed relocation to child abduction.

A gavel over a map of the world signifying international family law

Taking Your Child on Holiday

When you hear the term ‘international family law’, you tend to associate this with relocation to another country, but this also comes into play when a parent wants to take their child on holiday abroad. To some, this may seem excessive, but it’s a necessary precaution to prevent child abduction, which we’ll discuss in more detail in a moment.

To take a child on holiday abroad, you must get permission from everyone who has parental responsibility. So in cases where parents share parental responsibility, you will both need to agree before you’re allowed take your child out of the country. If you have a child arrangement order that states the child must live with you, then you’re allowed to take them out of the country for 28 days without permission.

If you don’t have parental responsibility, a letter of consent from the person that does is usually enough to demonstrate that you have permission. If you have parental responsibility but don’t want your former partner to take your child on holiday, they will have to get permission from a court to do so.

Relocating Abroad

Much like taking a child on holiday, the relocation of your child to a foreign country or even another part of England and Wales depends on parental responsibility. With that said, where a child resides is a much more serious matter that should be thought about in depth to establish what is best for them.

To do so, everyone with parental responsibility will need to give permission for children to move abroad permanently, or failing that, you will need a court order. To get the latter, there needs to be clear evidence that there are sufficient plans in place for the child’s home, education, and financial security. The Court’s focus is on the best interests of the child. The Court will be particularly concerned to consider the impact of a relocation would have on the child’s relationship with the parent remaining in the UK.  

No matter if both parents agree and the process is quick, or they disagree and have to ask the Court to decide the matter it’s in your best interest to get advice and support from a family lawyer who specialises in family and child law. This will benefit you significantly when it comes to making plans for or opposing your child’s relocation, as well as ensuring that all agreements are fair and above board.

Child Abduction

If someone takes their child on holiday or relocates them abroad without the necessary permission or legal say-so from a court, they are committing a crime and will be punished accordingly. Taking a child abroad away from someone who has parental responsibility, even if you also have it, maybe child abduction.

If you are concerned that your former partner is planning to relocate your child(ren) without your permission, you should seek the help of a family lawyer immediately. Doing so will give you time to get a court order that prevents your child from leaving the country. Of course, abduction also comes into play when a parent fails to return a child on the agreed date. If this is the case, there are resources and services available to help you track down your child to ensure a safe return.

Hiring a Specialist Family Lawyer

With matters involving children and separation, it’s always a good idea to hire a specialist family lawyer, as they will have experience dealing with your current situation and have a wealth of knowledge to assist you with. Here at KMJ Solicitors, we have a team of expert London family lawyers who specialise in all areas of family law including, divorce, finances, child law, international family law, and international divorce advice.

We fully understand how traumatic and stressful a divorce can be for both adults and children, which is why we adopt an empathetic approach from day one. We feel that listening to a client is the best way to familiarise ourselves with your situation and, from there, explain which services you will benefit from, updating you on a regular basis throughout the case.

Does your separation have an international element that affects your children? KMJ Solicitors is a specialist firm with an abundance of experience in all areas of family law, including international family law and want to help you today. Get in touch to schedule your FREE no-obligation consultation.