Can a parent move overseas and take the kids with them?

By March 22, 2021Blog, Parenting Arrangements

Just because a child or children primarily live with one parent, that parent does not automatically have the right to relocate the kids to another city, state or country.

If moving means that the time the other parent spends with the kids is reduced or limited, the courts may not grant permission – they will put the best interests of the child or children first.

Usually, the best way to tackle a situation like this is to try and reach agreement yourselves. But, if you can’t come to an agreement yourselves, you will need to apply to the family court for an order that allows you to move.

If you move without the other parent’s consent or a court order allowing you to in place, the court may force you to return with the children until an outcome is reached. If you break a court order, the other parent can apply to the courts to have the order enforced.

Case Study: Hamstra & Rewi [2020] FCCA 3108 (20 November 2020) 

This case involved a mother who fell in love with and married an American citizen. She applied for a court order to allow her to relocate with her child to the USA, where her new husband lived and where she had an exciting new job opportunity waiting for her.

The father, who lived in New Zealand, wanted the child to stay in Victoria with her mother because he believed his relationship with the child would significantly diminish if they moved to the USA.

In this case, the judge determined that it was in the child’s best interests to allow the mother to relocate to the USA, as the mother would be devastated if she could not join her husband and take up the job opportunity of a lifetime. Furthermore, the father’s time with the child would be enhanced as the court orders would have to comply with American laws as the USA is a Hague Convention country.

If you want to relocate with your child, or if your child’s other parent wants to relocate with them – we’re here to help. We can help you understand how the law applies to your situation, assist with mediation or applying for a court order.