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International relocation where children are involved

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Roopa Ahluwalia, Partner, BDB Pitmans (44610055)
Roopa Ahluwalia, Partner, BDB Pitmans (44610055)

The following scenario is common in family law: You and your ex-partner both live in England, each spending time with your two children. You wish to relocate, taking the children with you. Your ex disagrees, wanting to remain in England with the children.

Applying for permission to relocate

If your ex does not agree to the move, you will need to get the court’s permission. The court will consider your child’s welfare above everything else. You must therefore think carefully about why the move is in your child’s best interests.


Even if the court agrees that a move could be a good idea, you will still need to prove that you can make it work:

  • Accommodation – Where will you live? Will you rent or buy? Can you afford it? Do you require a financial settlement to be provided by your ex before your move is feasible? If so, you should explore financial issues with a solicitor at an early stage too.
  • Education – Do you have a place at a school secured for your child? Is the school appropriate for your child? How will pay any school fees?
  • Immigration status – Do you and your child have the right to live in your chosen country? Do you have the right to work there?

The left-behind parent

If you move and your ex stays put, the amount and nature of time they spend with your child will change significantly. The court will take this extremely seriously.

When planning your move you must therefore give careful thought to the contact arrangements between your child and your ex. You need to demonstrate how you will help to preserve your child’s relationship with their other parent.

Where to start?

The best place to start is by getting specific advice on your situation.

At BDB Pitmans we have significant experience in handling international relocation cases and are experts in handling financial issues that may need to considered alongside the relocation.

If you are considering an international relocation, please do get in touch with us an early stage.

Roopa Ahluwalia is a partner in BDB Pitmans’ family and matrimonial team in Cambridge. Contact roopaahluwalia@bdbpitmans.com or visit bdbpitmans.com.

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