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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Jul 2017 |
 
Moving Abroad, The Issues

If you’re thinking of moving abroad with your child, there are many issues to consider. One of the main issues is that of abduction. If a parent shares parental responsibility, they are not allowed to take the child abroad for more than a month except for two situations: firstly, if the non resident parent consents or secondly if they have sought and obtained permission from the court.

Without this permission, taking a child abroad is abduction, even if the child is travelling with the ‘with care’ parent.

Going to Court

If there is a requirement to go to court to seek permission to go abroad, the court will consider a number of elements: the welfare and best interests of the child (in particular, if the parent wishes to take the child abroad for a better life); whether or not the proposed move is an attempt by the parent with care to stop the child seeing the non-resident parent; any harm that may come to the child; the capability of each parent; and the child’s wishes.

Jurisdiction of the CSA

The Child Support Agency only has jurisdiction in the UK, in other words England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, it does not include the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. If one or more parties live abroad, the CSA is unable to give a calculation of the amount of maintenance a non-resident parent should pay. If either parent or the child is not resident in the UK, the court does have the power to make and vary a maintenance order.

Non-Resident Parent Abroad

If the non-resident parent is working for the UK civil service abroad, is in the armed forces, for a UK governmental organisation or is working for a UK company abroad (and is paid from a UK payroll) then the CSA will still be able to collect money from them. In all other cases if the non-resident parent is abroad the parent with care can go to court in the UK to apply for child support.

There are procedures in place that are designed to assist parents with care in the UK collect money from non-resident parents abroad, in particular REMO (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders). REMO will assist UK residents by enforcing maintenance orders abroad to collect money from non-resident parents. It must be stressed however that the UK cannot compel or order foreign jurisdictions to act in a certain way or within a certain timescale. In addition, not all countries in the world participate in REMO.

If a parent with care who is in the UK wishes to apply for maintenance from a person who is not living in the UK, they do not need to employ the services of a solicitor. All that is required is that they attend their local magistrates court. If there is an existing order, they make an application to have that order enforced in the country where the non-resident parent lives and if there is no order they can ask child support authorities in the foreign country to make a maintenance order for them.

Non Resident Parent living in the UK

The REMO (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders) agreement with participating countries works both ways. This means that if a parent with care and the child both live abroad, they can apply for a foreign maintenance order which will be enforceable against the non-resident parent who is living in the UK.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Adam - Your Question:
My ex lives in south east England. I'm about to love to Scotland and have no contact with the child. Will my maintenance payments change if I'm living in Scotland so far away from the child. Thanks

Our Response:
No, by law you will still be responsible for financially supporting your child regardless of whether you have contact or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:33 PM
My ex lives in south east England. I'm about to love to Scotland and have no contact with the child. Will my maintenance payments change if I'm living in Scotland so far away from the child. Thanks
Adam - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:33 PM
Kat - Your Question:
My fiancés ex is planning to move to lanzarote in September with his 2 kids, the kids want to go so we will support them however want legal binding visitation rights, we hope to visit once a month or fortnight but worry if able to afford it financially. Are we able to reduce maintenance paid to compensate for travel and accommodation fees for the kids?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your partner and his ex have a family-based arrangement or pay via CMS. You could possibly request a special expenses variation, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jul-17 @ 10:35 AM
My fiancés ex is planning to move to lanzarote in September with his 2 kids, the kids want to go so we will support them however want legal binding visitation rights, we hope to visit once a month or fortnight but worry if able to afford it financially. Are we able to reduce maintenance paid to compensate for travel and accommodation fees for the kids?
Kat - 17-Jul-17 @ 11:40 AM
Emsoo - Your Question:
Hi I am a Uk resident and so is my 5 yr old daughter. My ex her father moved back to America 4 years ago and since then has send random child support and has not come to visit her. I have however sent pictures and updated him regularly. I recently filed for child support and his reaction was well now I'm filling for custody. Can anyone tell me if this is possible? My daughter has several medical problems and obviously has treatment here in the UK so how would custody work with him there and us here?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely your ex would have a case. There is no way the law would take your chidl from you and move her to a different country. The law will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child and uppermost is continuity and stability. You have little to worry about - it sounds more like empty words.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Jun-17 @ 4:00 PM
Nat - Your Question:
Hi,I am a motherof a nearly 5 year old daughter. Her father has only contributed 1one payment of £125 in all those years. He travels back and forth to America on a visa and is still not contributing despite saying he intends too. I cant afford court fees and I earn over the wage stated approx 27, 000. Is there any way this can be sorted without me having to pay court fees and somehow direct them to him? Thanks

Our Response:
You can claim via Child Maintenance Service, here . Or if he lives outside the UK, you can contact the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:11 PM
Hi, I am a motherof a nearly 5 year old daughter.Her father has only contributed 1one payment of £125 in all those years. He travels back and forth to America on a visa and is still not contributing despite saying he intends too. I cant afford court fees and i earn over the wage stated approx 27, 000. Is there any way this can be sorted without me having to pay court fees and somehow direct them to him? Thanks
Nat - 27-Jun-17 @ 5:07 PM
Hi I am a Uk resident and so is my 5 yr old daughter. My ex her father moved back to America 4 years ago and since then has send random child support and has not come to visit her. I have however sent pictures and updated him regularly. I recently filed for child support and his reaction was well now I'm filling for custody. Can anyone tell me if this is possible? My daughter has several medical problems and obviously has treatment here in the UK so how would custody work with him there and us here?
Emsoo - 24-Jun-17 @ 8:53 PM
Smillie - Your Question:
My parents are moving out of country but I do not want to go are there any laws meaning that I can stay here or do I have to go with them

Our Response:
You cannot make an independent decision regarding this matter unless you are over 18.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jun-17 @ 4:24 PM
AL - Your Question:
Hi My partner is taking our daughter to Switzerland to live but needs a letter from me (resident in the uk) to say that's ok. It says I need a notary to witness that permission letter but what do I put in the letter?

Our Response:
You may wish to seek legal advice about drawing up an agreement. You can do this through mediation or a solicitor. This will allow you to come to an agreement on visitation rights also and/or other clauses if required.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-17 @ 11:49 AM
Hi My partner is taking our daughter to Switzerland to live but needs a letter from me (resident in the uk) to say that's ok. It says I need a notary to witness that permission letter but what do I put in the letter?
AL - 11-Jun-17 @ 10:35 PM
My parents are moving out of country but I do not want to go are there any laws meaning that I can stay here or do I have to go with them
Smillie - 8-Jun-17 @ 10:34 PM
mon - Your Question:
Hi my son is 18 months old and I have been a victim of domestic violence for last 4 years but did manage to get some courage after my son was born and reported it to the authorities and the police. At present I have have left the house with my son as my husband is more bother in his parents then us. My family lives in Canada. Is it possible to move there with my son. Or will need a permission from my husband to move there permanently. My husband wants me to make make private arrangements for his son as he is under Domestic violence but I refused. Is it possible to take my son Abroad or I wil need permission from hi.

Our Response:
You will need permission from the father to move out of the country with yours and his child. If you move without his consent, you could be charged with abduction. If your child's father refuses, you would have to apply to court for permission. First and foremost, a court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jun-17 @ 1:42 PM
Hi, I'm from the U.K. But am currently in a relationship with someone in the USA. My divorce from my husband ( whom I separated from many years ago) will be finalized in the next 30-60 days. I am very keen to move to the USA with my son and his father in the U.K. Has agreed that I could bring him with me. In order to do that I was advised I would need to get legal written permission from his father which he is happy to do. Could you tell me please how I go about doing this or who to go to? Everyone involved is very amicable and in agreement we just need to make sure we are doing everything legally the right way in order to move forward. Any advise greatly received thank you
Texasbrit - 1-Jun-17 @ 5:27 AM
Hi my son is 18 months old and I have been a victim of domestic violence for last 4 years but did manage to get some courage after my son was born and reported it to the authorities and the police. At present I have have left the house with my son as my husband is more bother in his parents then us. My family lives in Canada. Is it possible to move there with my son. Or will need a permission from my husband to move there permanently. My husband wants me to make make private arrangements for his son as he is under Domestic violence but I refused. Is it possible to take my son Abroad or I wil need permission from hi.
mon - 1-Jun-17 @ 1:21 AM
Hi my ex husband is from and lives in Coventry. I returned home to Ireland 2 weeks ago with our 8 year old which he allowed when our marriage broke down I don't work and have no money which he knows but still refuse s to pay me maintenance . Can you tell me how do I go about applying please .
B - 27-May-17 @ 9:43 AM
@Airfix - the document held by the solicitor doesn't really hold water as a legal order (if it hasn't been overseen by the court). But if (through disagreement between you and your ex) the matter goes to court, it will show to the court that there is/was an agreement in place and what the terms of the agreement are. The court will take this into consideration. You're best seeing a solicitor re; this once you know which route your ex is going to take. If she goes straight for a REMO, Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order, then it will be up to you to try to challenge it through the court, based upon your former/formal agreement...if that makes sense! Ben.
BRD78 - 24-May-17 @ 11:25 AM
@Airfix - It is the judge who will make the decision on the basis of what he/she thinks is in the best interests of your children. If your situation has not changed, then the court may not allow this matter to be heard. A US lawyer might come in with a hammer approach - but it doesn't mean they will be able to get the order changed. If there has been no change in your financial circumstances, then they'll have to come up with a good reason. You can use the reason that your ex has got what she wanted and now wants to change the goalposts. You can only get a variation on an order if there has been a variation in the situation! Regards, Ben.
BRD78 - 23-May-17 @ 12:29 PM
Thank you so much for response. The circumstances have only altered on so much as her husband has received a promotion and pay rise since their move. Mine are unchanged. Does the American court have the say in this matter or would it be a UK matter given the nationality of everyone involved? Thank you in advance!
Airfix - 22-May-17 @ 4:06 PM
EUMama - Your Question:
Hi, I've got an 18mo baby. The father has been abusive to me, the last time the Police got involved and he is currently on bail for assault, waiting for trial. He also drinks a lot and is far from a responsible dad. However, he is obsessed with taking our baby from me. He is British, I'm an EU national. He has told me numerous times he won't let me move back home with our baby. I am financially vulnerable here, I know he won't pay CSA - he already threatened to quit his job, I know he is capable of doing it. I have limited savings.If I apply to court and we have no residence or contact order but I can prove I've got family back home, a place to live, better job opportunities and better environment for my baby and having in mind the father is chased by social services for his drinking and they want only supervised contact with the child.Then will I have any chances in court? I heard such cases take years and are extremely expensive. Thank you in advance!

Our Response:
First of all, if your ex is not paying child maintenance currently, then what have you got to lose by making a claim via CMS? If he quits his job then he will be shooting himself in the foot as he will have nothing to live on and he is unlikely to receive benefits. It sounds to me like this is a veiled threat - but whether he would carry it out is a different matter. You can apply to the courts to leave the country and if you cannot afford legal representation, you can self litigate. Litigants in person MUST be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice. Judges have a duty to ensure a fair trial by giving them due assistance to achieve this. If you are on a low income, you also may get a reduction in court fees. A judge will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of the child, but it is unlikely to stop a parent moving on with their life. If you show that you are willing to let your ex see your child and show that you are willing to negotiate access (supervised or unsupervised) there is no reason why a court will not allow you to move back home if you can justify your reasons and reasons that will benefit your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-May-17 @ 9:53 AM
Hi, I've got an 18mo baby. The father has been abusive to me, the last time the Police got involved and he is currently on bail for assault, waiting for trial. He also drinks a lot and is far from a responsible dad. However, he is obsessed with taking our baby from me. He is British, I'm an EU national. He has told me numerous times he won't let me move back home with our baby. I am financially vulnerable here, I know he won't pay CSA - he already threatened to quit his job, I know he is capable of doing it. I have limited savings. If I apply to court and we have no residence or contact order but I can prove I've got family back home, a place to live, better job opportunities and better environment for my baby and having in mind the father is chased by social services for his drinking and they want only supervised contact with the child...Then will I have any chances in court? I heard such cases take years and are extremely expensive... Thank you in advance!
EUMama - 16-May-17 @ 11:25 AM
I live in Australia and I have three children who live in the UK with my ex wife. When we divorced in 2012 we indicated the care of the children but there was never a court order on residency. I moved to Australia at the end of 2013 and although i wanted to have the children here with me for a period of time, my ex wife objected so it never happened. My children are coming to see me later this year and my 17 year old son wants to stay here with me. I understand a child can leave home at 16, does this also mean he has the chouce of where he wants to stay as his mother seems to think he cant until he is 18. I have not raised this with his mother because i am worried she will cancel the trip. I also have 2 daughters one is 12 and the other 8, if either of my girls wants to stay with me what is my legal position?
epochery - 12-May-17 @ 4:24 PM
I am not sure what how where etc with my sistuation I am living in zimbabwe, looking after my folks here, i have been here with my daughter for 6 years since she was born, we are both British citizens! Her father left when she was 3 months old, i have recieved little help for the first years then non for 5 years, currently i have no idea where in soun africa he live if even in south! My issue is that i can leave zimbabwe with out his permission as he is on my daughters birth certificate and need permission to relocate to south or canada! The situation here is getting horrible and hard! I need a better life for her but i can move! Someone spoke to me about getting sole gaurdianship? But how do i do it through the uk courts? And how if i dont know how to find him?
LisaB - 4-May-17 @ 10:34 AM
Pb - Your Question:
I am a citizen of the United STATES and my wife move to England where she is a citizen and has since filed for divorce in the UK. Will the courts recognize me as their parent and give me any legal recourse to have the children with me in America? She is refusing to mediate a resolution for the children long term before the divorce is finalized which is not the way it works in America as the matters are resolved in the divorce process.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely any court would rule to separate the children from their primary carer and/or uproot them from a secure home environment unless absolutely necessary. A court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of the children and that is stability and consistency. However, access may be awarded if it is currently being refused in the way of holidays etc. But it is impossible to predict as much depends upon the surrounding circumstances.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-May-17 @ 12:03 PM
Danny86 - Your Question:
Hi! I've recently moved away from my ex as she had many controlling issues and never let me be a dad when we were even together. I'm now living in Canada and she is in th UK but she is refusing me any communication with the kids and will not help out the situation of any contact with my boys. They are only 7 and 4 and she has said if they want to contact you they will. Now sending money back isn't cheap but I still pay bills there so I send amonthly payment to a family member that lives only a mile away from her and she is refusing to pick it up and wants to take me to court here. I really need help with thisand have no idea how to get her to see Sense that the boy's need there dad and the money is there for her plus savings for the boy's accounts

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have a previous child maintenance agreement in place already via CMS which makes it difficult to advise. Plus, you don't give the basis/reasons why your ex is taking you to court. If she is taking you to court regarding child maintenance issues, then the court will put an order in place and if you have any arrears based on CMS payments, then you will be required to pay these arreas. If your ex wishes to have a court order for child maintenance in place rather than a family-based arrangment (because you live in another country) then this is her prerogative. As child maintenance and child contact are separate issues, if your ex refuses child access you too would have to apply to court to request that a contact order is put in place.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-May-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hello. I'm seperated from my son's mother ( not married) , she's Hungarian.She wants my permission to give my son a dual nationality on his passport . My son was born in the UK and my name is on his birth certificate. If I agree to this , does this give her any added rights to take my son out of the country?
Dee - 2-May-17 @ 7:38 AM
I am a citizen of the United STATES and my wife move to England where she is a citizen and has since filed for divorce in the UK.Will the courts recognize me as their parent and give me any legal recourse to have the children with me in America?She is refusing to mediate a resolution for the children long term before the divorce is finalized which is not the way it works in America as the matters are resolved in the divorce process.
Pb - 1-May-17 @ 6:50 PM
Hi! I've recently moved away from my ex as she had many controlling issues and never let me be a dad when we were even together. I'm now living in Canada and she is in th UK but she is refusing me any communication with the kids and will not help out the situation of any contact with my boys. They are only 7 and 4 and she has said if they want to contact you they will. Now sending money back isn't cheap but I still pay bills there so I send amonthly payment to a family member that lives only a mile away from her and she is refusing to pick it up and wants to take me to court here. I really need help with thisand have no idea how to get her to see Sense that the boy's need there dad and the money is there for her plus savings for the boy's accounts
Danny86 - 1-May-17 @ 4:58 AM
RedKat - Your Question:
I'm looking to move to Canada with my 2 children my ex is on our daughters birth certificate but not our sons. He hasn't seen the children in 7 months and only pays £50 a week every now and then. How difficult would it be for me to move ? I want to be with my family and give my children a good life and education

Our Response:
Even if your ex is not registered on your son's birth certificate, you would have to gain consent from him to be able to move with your daughter from the UK. If your ex declines, then you would have to apply to court. We can't predict what a court may decide - but it will always put the best interests of your children first.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:39 PM
I'm looking to move to Canada with my 2 children my ex is on our daughters birth certificate but not our sons. He hasn't seen the children in 7 months and only pays £50 a week every now and then. How difficult would it be for me to move ? I want to be with my family and give my children a good life and education
RedKat - 25-Apr-17 @ 11:19 PM
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