Home > Child Support & Family > Moving Abroad, The Issues

Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 May 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
@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
Thanks Ben, that's very useful although I note your use of the word 'order', would that include an agreement drawn up by a solicitor and jointly signed but that hasn't been stamped in court? My concern being that her challenging what isn't strictly a legal document won't be difficult. I take comfort from your comments regarding variation in circumstances.
Airfix - 23-May-17 @ 2:49 PM
@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
airfix - Your Question:
Hi, my children live in the USA with my ex wife and her husband. They have a very comfortable lifestyle, she doesn't work, has a new baby and the rent on their property is in excess of $5000 per month. I had an agreement drawn up by a solicitor before they moved which she signed stating that I would travel twice a year to the USA in lieu of maintenance payments, I have been doing so. Recently, she has informed me that the agreement is no longer 'working for them' and has stated that she is pursuing a legal option to obtain money from me via a lawyer in the US and is willing to go to court (there) in order to achieve her aim. I agreed to the move based on a very specific understanding that I would not pay while they were overseas, indeed this was something offered verbally by her and her husband prior to my consent being given.Does she have any legal right under the circumstances to attempt this and if so am I obliged to acknowledge legal contact from the USA give that I am neither a citizen nor resident of the US?Does she have any legal means to alter our agreement given that there was no maintenance order in place before she moved? I always paid an agreed amount privately when they lived in the UK, this ceased by agreement when they emigrated. I am obviously very upset that having agreed selflessly to their move at great personal cost, they are now attempting to move the goal posts. What should I do?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot comment on US family law as it operates differently than UK family law. However, if for instance circumstances have changed, then your ex will be able to take the matter to court. This means it will be up to you from this side of the pond to justify why the agreement should still stand. I'm afraid there are many cases of parents agreeing to terms in order to get what they want (i.e a move abroad) and once abroad finding a way to renege on those terms. Much will also depend upon how long the agreement has been in place and whether you perhaps are earning more money which changes the circumstances regarding her subsidising your travel etc. The fact your ex has a 'comfortable' lifestyle has no bearing on whether you as a father should support your children, regardless of whether you live in another country. Therefore, you would really need to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-May-17 @ 11:16 AM
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
airfix - Your Question:
Hi, my children live in the USA with my ex wife and her husband. They have a very comfortable lifestyle, she doesn't work, has a new baby and the rent on their property is in excess of $5000 per month. I had an agreement drawn up by a solicitor before they moved which she signed stating that I would travel twice a year to the USA in lieu of maintenance payments, I have been doing so. Recently, she has informed me that the agreement is no longer 'working for them' and has stated that she is pursuing a legal option to obtain money from me via a lawyer in the US and is willing to go to court (there) in order to achieve her aim. I agreed to the move based on a very specific understanding that I would not pay while they were overseas, indeed this was something offered verbally by her and her husband prior to my consent being given.Does she have any legal right under the circumstances to attempt this and if so am I obliged to acknowledge legal contact from the USA give that I am neither a citizen nor resident of the US?Does she have any legal means to alter our agreement given that there was no maintenance order in place before she moved? I always paid an agreed amount privately when they lived in the UK, this ceased by agreement when they emigrated. I am obviously very upset that having agreed selflessly to their move at great personal cost, they are now attempting to move the goal posts. What should I do?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the circumstances have changed or varied in any way. Yes, your ex can apply to court to vary the order. Whether she is granted this will depend upon if the court thinks it is in your children's best interests and the new circumstances or justification she can present. It does not mean your ex will necessarily win.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-May-17 @ 2:11 PM
Hi, my children live in the USA with my ex wife and her husband. They have a very comfortable lifestyle, she doesn't work, has a new baby and the rent on their property is in excess of $5000 per month. I had an agreement drawn up by a solicitor before they moved which she signed stating that I would travel twice a year to the USA in lieu of maintenance payments, I have been doing so. Recently, she has informed me that the agreement is no longer 'working for them' and has stated that she is pursuing a legal option to obtain money from me via a lawyer in the US and is willing to go to court (there) in order to achieve her aim. I agreed to the move based on a very specific understanding that I would not pay while they were overseas, indeed this was something offered verbally by her and her husband prior to my consent being given. Does she have any legal right under the circumstances to attempt this and if so am I obliged to acknowledge legal contact from the USA give that I am neither a citizen nor resident of the US? Does she have any legal means to alter our agreement given that there was no maintenance order in place before she moved? I always paid an agreed amount privately when they lived in the UK, this ceased by agreement when they emigrated. I am obviously very upset that having agreed selflessly to their move at great personal cost, they are now attempting to move the goal posts. What should I do?
airfix - 22-May-17 @ 9:20 AM
Hi, my children live in the USA with my ex wife and her husband. They have a very comfortable lifestyle, she doesn't work, has a new baby and the rent on their property is in excess of $5000 per month. I had an agreement drawn up by a solicitor before they moved which she signed stating that I would travel twice a year to the USA in lieu of maintenance payments, I have been doing so. Recently, she has informed me that the agreement is no longer 'working for them' and has stated that she is pursuing a legal option to obtain money from me via a lawyer in the US and is willing to go to court (there) in order to achieve her aim. I agreed to the move based on a very specific understanding that I would not pay while they were overseas, indeed this was something offered verbally by her and her husband prior to my consent being given. Does she have any legal right under the circumstances to attempt this and if so am I obliged to acknowledge legal contact from the USA give that I am neither a citizen nor resident of the US? Does she have any legal means to alter our agreement given that there was no maintenance order in place before she moved? I always paid an agreed amount privately when they lived in the UK, this ceased by agreement when they emigrated. I am obviously very upset that having agreed selflessly to their move at great personal cost, they are now attempting to move the goal posts. What should I do?
airfix - 22-May-17 @ 7:16 AM
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
Hi, my ex who is the father of my children will be starting a job in scotland soon, will csa still be able to collect maintenance from him. We are both British Citizens and don't know if his job will affect csa payments.
rt - 24-Apr-17 @ 10:34 PM
Hi All, Can someone please advise me of what would be a reasonable monthly payment for two childeren 13, 8. The Mother and her new husband both work - and I don't want to subsidise their new house, new car etc, I want to pay my contribution to my children and not a penny more! CSA wanted £1050pcm which is more than my mortgage. We came to an agreement OUTWITH CSA £650. However I have since re-married and she has 3 children, We do not have an open case with CSA. I have cut her down to £350pcm as I feel that is ample to feed and cloth my children eachmonth, cupled with the fact that her and her husband both have decent jobs, She can pay for her own house and fancy designer clothes. I was fed up being taken to cleaners from HMRC and CSA - Deducting 60% of my pay! Secondly I now work in Dubai, and now live in Spain as was fed up being abused by UK Goverment. I am now a UK non-resident, non UK Tax payer. All I am asking for is a reasonable figure - my kids wear normal clothes, and eat normal food - Anyone who could provide a breakdown would be welcomed as to illustrate why it should cost more.
0righhtsSeperatedDad - 22-Apr-17 @ 2:13 AM
Raiza - Your Question:
Hi,I' been separated with my husband for 5 years, and my husband is now living in the philippines, We have a 7 years old son, me and my son are both british citizen,,We are still legally married and we married in the philippines, I havent file a divorce yet, my husband is working in the Philippines and living with somebody else and not supporting my son, Can I file a case against him for not supporting my son for 6 years? and what case can I file against him. thanks

Our Response:
If you wish to apply for child maintenance, then the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally. Please see link here. You would have to check whether the Phillipines is on the member-country list here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Apr-17 @ 11:20 AM
Hi,I' been separated with my husband for 5 years, and my husband is now living in the philippines,We have a7 years old son, me and my son are both british citizen,,We are still legally married and we married in the philippines,I havent file a divorce yet,my husband is working in the Philippines and living with somebody else and not supporting my son,Can I file a case against him for not supporting my son for 6 years?and what case can i file against him. thanks
Raiza - 20-Apr-17 @ 4:43 PM
Love - Your Question:
Hello,please enlighten me. My husband and I ( I'm an Asian) have 5 year old daughter who is already goes to school here in the U.K. Now, I want to separate with him because his emotionally distressing me and we are having a hard time living together. I've been here since 2013 same year with my daughter. My questions are 1. Will I have a problem staying in the uk if I will separated a house with him but we are not legal separate? 2. Would I be able to get my child and live with me and transfer her to another school? What are my rights as mother with a British child who is not a British citizen?

Our Response:
If you are on a dependent/family/spouse visa, then as per the terms of the visa you have to tell the Home Office when you divorce or separate from your partner, please see link hereand here. If you cannot extend your visa and have to leave the UK, you would have to request consent from your husband to take your child out of the country. If your husband refuses, then you would have to request permission through court. If you take your child without written authorisation from your husband, it can be classed as abduction. I can only suggest you seek independent immigration advice or legal advice with regards to your present situation and in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Apr-17 @ 9:51 AM
Hello,please enlighten me. My husband and I ( I'm an Asian) have 5 year old daughter who is already goes to school here in the U.K. Now, I want to separate with him because his emotionally distressing me and we are having a hard time living together. I've been here since 2013 same year with my daughter. My questions are 1. Will I have a problem staying in the uk if I will separated a house with him but we are not legal separate?2. Would I be able to get my child and live with me and transfer her to another school? What are my rights as mother with a British child who is not a British citizen?
Love - 17-Apr-17 @ 12:17 AM
Hi, my child's biological father has moved to America. My child is 6 and his father has never paid child maintenance nor contributed financially in any way. I wondered if he actually can move that far away. He has married a woman there. Can I still apply for maintenance?
Jemima - 14-Apr-17 @ 10:21 AM
I moved to Uk in Dec, 2010. My husband and my 6 months daughter were my dependents. In 2011 I had another baby boy. My husband has very voilent attitude and have extra-marital affair with dozens of other women. He has always been hitting me and I have been subject to extreme domestic voilence by him. Even my innocent children were not safe from him. In 2015 we were separated and then he never bothered for children food/ clothing/ schooling. Now after 2 yrs he has reached to court to meet the children. Whereas previously he never cared for any of the child. He is a very voilent, low education, low mentallity, sick mentality person and he wanted to raise my SON a rapist (just like him). Whereas I want to let my children get proper education and become good citizens. Please help me in this regard. Please do let me know about the legal aspects of the case. My ex-husband (with whom I am separated in 2015) has no more legal way of staying in UK other than to use dirty tactics as he is approaching court to meet the children.
Bijlia - 10-Apr-17 @ 7:41 AM
RD - Your Question:
Hello. My fiance lives in the UK and is moving to my country. He has a child in the UK. He would like to bring his child here for extended holidays but the child's mother is forbidding it. She also wants to them to cease all contact. Is he able to bring his child here for holidays without her consent?

Our Response:
A parent must get the permission of the other parent or from a court before taking the child abroad. If a parent attempts to take a child abroad without the appropriate consent, they can be charged with abduction, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Apr-17 @ 12:01 PM
Hello. My fiance lives in the UK and is moving to my country. He has a child in the UK. He would like to bring his child here for extended holidays but the child's mother is forbidding it. She also wants to them to cease all contact. Is he able to bring his child here for holidays without her consent?
RD - 5-Apr-17 @ 7:08 PM
Monica - Your Question:
Hi there. I've left my partner as he is very violent and abusive. He once hit me as well. I've tried to have an amicable split because we have a 6 months old baby but he keeps calling me and threatening me saying I need to die and calls me all sort of names. I'm terrified by him and I don't want him to see my daughter as I don't trust him. He gives me no money and it's financially hard for me. How can I get full custody and can I take my daughter abroad in my home country?

Our Response:
If your partner has parental responsibility, you would have to apply through court to move from the UK. As highlighted in the article, taking a child from the country for longer than one month without the consent of the other parent is classed as abduction. If you have a fear that your ex may keep your child without your consent (if he has parental responsibility), you would have to apply for a residence order through the courts, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Apr-17 @ 12:39 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ChildSupportLaws website. Please read our Disclaimer.