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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 10 Nov 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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[Add a Comment]
gem - Your Question:
Hi My partners ex is still on a mission to ruin him financially.She has now come up with the CSA even though he pays his 18 year old son directly his own maintenance payments.His son is at 6th form final year and is 19 next September. The CSA say he has to pay his ex £700 per month, even though:1. He pays his son £120 every month2. He has bought him a £600 this year3. Bought him his own car and taxed and insured it4. Paid £1400 for a trip to NZAll this in the last 3 months.His son works part time, will be joining the army next August as an Officer, is a member of the Freemasons, Makes his own money using a trading account in stocks and shares.My ex works for an American company and since his divorce where he gave his ex both houses in order that she wouldnt ask for any more money ( and a court order proving that ) has no fixed abode.Will the CSA still insist on him paying ?

Our Response:
By law, your partner is responsible towards paying towards his son's day-to-day care until he leaves full-time education. Payments such as cars, holidays etc are all retrospective and will not be taken into consideration. Plus, they are deemed voluntary payments, not payments directly towards his son's day-to-day welfare. Child maintenance is based on earnings not asset ownership. If he has passed assets over to his wife, this is also deemed as voluntary. If your partner now has to pay child maintenance directly to his ex, he does not have to pay above and beyond the amount he is assessed on and is requested to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:33 PM
Hi My partners ex is still on a mission to ruin him financially. She has now come up with the CSA even though he pays his 18 year old son directly his own maintenance payments. His son is at 6th form final year and is 19 next September. The CSA say he has to pay his ex £700 per month, even though: 1. He pays his son £120 every month 2. He has bought him a £600 this year 3. Bought him his own car and taxed and insured it 4. Paid £1400 for a trip to NZ All this in the last 3 months. His son works part time, will be joining the army next August as an Officer, is a member of the Freemasons, Makes his own money using a trading account in stocks and shares. My ex works for an American company and since his divorce where he gave his ex both houses in order that she wouldnt ask for any more money ( and a court order proving that ) has no fixed abode. Will the CSA still insist on him paying ?
gem - 10-Nov-17 @ 12:18 AM
Paul R - Your Question:
Hi my ex wife taken my daughter to Australia 7 years ago when she eas 16 I signed at a solicitors to say I was happy for her to go I also paid the uk csa till she was 16 when I received a letter from them telling me not to pay any more when my ex arrived in oz I received a letter from the oz csa telling me I need to pay £450 a month for my daughter I refused as I paid till she was 16 in the uk I 5 years on I have never paid a penny and I still keep getting staitment letters from the oz csa telling me I owe £26000 and still going up with interest every month am I legally bind to pay this will they take me court ???

Our Response:
There are ways to reciprocally enforce maintenance orders internationally. However, we cannot speculate how far the Australian agency will go to enforce this.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Nov-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hi my ex wife taken my daughter to Australia 7 years ago when she eas 16 I signed at a solicitors to say I was happy for her to go I also paid the uk csa till she was 16 when I received a letter from them telling me not to pay any more when my ex arrived in oz I received a letter from the oz csa telling me I need to pay £450 a month for my daughter I refused as I paid till she was 16 in the uk I 5 years on I have never paid a penny and I still keep getting staitment letters from the oz csa telling me i owe £26000 and still going up with interest every month am I legally bind to pay this will they take me court ???
Paul R - 7-Nov-17 @ 8:10 PM
There is a court order in place which orders me to allow my ex-husband to see our children on a regular basis. The court order states that he shall see them 'after school' on certain dates but does not specify any times. He works full time and states that he cannot collect them until 6.30pm on the days that he has them stay with him. Who is responsible for the children until he collects them? He has them stay with him 10 nights per month and pays maintenance but they live with me.
Dobie68 - 30-Oct-17 @ 6:42 PM
My ex wife and I separated almost 7 years ago. Soon after divorce she and my son left to malaysia and currently living in Australia past 5 years. I have been paying child maintenance to her UK account for past 5 years inaccordance to UK CSA. I have calculated that I have paid over 48,000 pounds over the past 6 years. I have now received aletter from her demanding for my annual tax return. She now also has contacted Australian CSA who trying to contact me. Is she legally binding to do this? I have bank records of all my payments. Should I renegotiate the Child maintenancevia solicitor asshe has been living in Australia for the past 5 years ? I have been trying to speak CSA they were unsure what is best course of action.
arvo - 24-Oct-17 @ 12:40 PM
aaa - Your Question:
Hi I moved to spain 3 years ago with my daughter I have a signed affidavit from him witnessed by lawyers stating she can live hear with me dose he have to pay anything for his daughter as he has no contact with her maby one phone call yearly his choice and has never payed anything towards her since she was born

Our Response:
Yes, you can claim child maintenance from the child's father, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Oct-17 @ 4:01 PM
hi i moved to spain 3 years ago with my daughter i have a signed affidavit from him witnessed by lawyersstating she can live hear with me dose hehave to pay anything for his daughter as he has no contact with her maby one phone call yearlyhis choice and has never payed anything towards her since she was born
aaa - 16-Oct-17 @ 6:59 PM
Mel - Your Question:
My son lives in Spain and his 16 year old daughter has chosen to live with him but the mother is now refusing to sign a letter to say that she can. What if anything can my son do about this. The 16 year old did not just leave her mother knew she was going and where

Our Response:
Your son or your son's ex's only recourse is to apply to court for permission if and where there is disagreement. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:53 PM
My son lives in Spain and his 16 year old daughter has chosen to live with him but the mother is now refusing to sign a letter to say that she can. What if anything can my son do about this. The 16 year old did not just leave her mother knew she was going and where
Mel - 12-Oct-17 @ 3:51 PM
G - Your Question:
My husband suffers from depression and as a means of coping uses cocaine. When I fell pregnant which was not the plan I told him if when our baby was born he was still using which he has done for 7 years I would leave him. In the end after giving him chances I have separated. He only sees her when I am with him as I don't trust him. And from the day our baby was born I have taken care of the baby. His family don't know the real reason I have left hr has threatened suicide if I tell the about his use of drugs. His mother has now said to me she will try and get custody for him or get some sort of rights that he can see our child. Our baby is 7 months old. If I went for full custody could they do this? I can't trust him with our baby alone. And as he always talks about death and all sorts of rubbish I don't want his issues around our child that I have raised. He has been giving me money every month as I asked him to start helping with that.

Our Response:
This question has also been answerd on another of our pages, I shall repeat the answer. If you cannot agree to any form of access with your ex, then your ex will have the option to suggest mediation as a way of trying to formulate an agreement. Obviously, there are two sides to every story and your ex will have the option to apply for access through the courts if you do not consent to come to an arrangement via mediation. Unless your ex allows you to withhold access indefinitely, then it may come down to a court to decide what it thinks is in your child's best interests. Many children in the UK have parents that take drugs recreationally and otherwise, and while a court does not condone drug taking, much depends upon the impact of the drug use on the ability of the non-resident to provide safe and appropriate care for a child. Perhaps your ex's parents may be able to get involved to offer supervised support until the matter can be decided long term. Remember, there are two parents in all relationships and both may wish to be involved in the upbringing and care of their child. To shut one parent out isn't straightforward. Regardless of the other parent's lifestyle, the other parent still may want to love and care for the child as much as you.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Oct-17 @ 2:06 PM
My husband suffers from depression and as a means of coping uses cocaine. When I fell pregnant which was not the plan I told him if when our baby was born he was still using which he has done for 7 years I would leave him. In the end after giving him chances I have separated. He only sees her when I am with him as I don't trust him. And from the day our baby was born I have taken care of the baby. His family don't know the real reason I have left hr has threatened suicide if I tell the about his use of drugs. His mother has now said to me she will try and get custody for him or get some sort of rights that he can see our child. Our baby is 7 months old. If I went for full custody could they do this? I can't trust him with our baby alone... And as he always talks about death and all sorts of rubbish I don't want his issues around our child that I have raised. He has been giving me money every month as I asked him to start helping with that.
G - 30-Sep-17 @ 12:01 AM
Amc - Your Question:
Hi. Im wishing to go traveling with my son of two years for 2 years around australia and south east asia for around 18 months. His dad is on the birth certificate but left shorly after we havent heard from him since the baby was about 4 months. Do I need his permission to take the baby away and if so is it just a letter or do I have to get certain forms filled in.

Our Response:
You must get the permission if your ex has parental responsibility or from a court before taking the child abroad, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Sep-17 @ 11:35 AM
Hi. Im wishing to go traveling with my son of two years for 2 years around australia and south east asia for around 18 months. His dad is on the birth certificate but left shorly after we havent heard from him since the baby was about 4 months. Do i need his permission to take the baby away and if so is it just a letter or do i have to get certain forms filled in.
Amc - 24-Sep-17 @ 3:13 PM
RJS - Your Question:
Hi, My son was born in the UK. When he was 8 weeks old I found out about my husband's infidelity. My son and I left for Australia (my native) so that we can be with my extended family with written permission from my husband. My son is now 9 months old and we have established our life in Australia. My son is also now an Australian citizen. My question is can my husband apply to the UK courts to bring my son back to the UK? He has visited my son in Australia twice so far and we have tried to reconcile but it is not possible. How can he gain gain custody of my son?

Our Response:
If you have written permission from your ex, then no court would attempt to take your child from you and move him to a different country. The court will always rule for what it thinks is in the best interests of your child and moving him across the world would not be.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Sep-17 @ 4:58 PM
Holly - Your Question:
My partner has just moved too Dubai , has blaintly put it down too avoiding the cms , he has links too the U.K. Still ie a house but cms our saying nothing they can do. He's now saying if I take him too court for child support he will request his travel too see his children is included , and I won't get much as I only work 20 hours a week and not helping myself , I work school hours too fit in with the children and don't understand why I could be liable for his travel , when he choose too move. I won't allow the children too go out there due too not having duristication of custody rights and he's quite a nasty leave of work. I know it's not enforceable but at least arrears could amount I just don't understand why I would have too pay HIS costs , he knew what the move would include. Is he just scare mongering. Why should my children miss out on treats and a more comfortable life just because he decides he's not paying. And I'm being far from greedy on £52k non taxable per year I've asked for £250 a month the cms calculation on his old wage.

Our Response:
The main point here is that you say your ex has £52K 'non-taxable' income, CMS can only apply for child maintenance against taxable income. Here also is the list of countries with Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) for decisions made by courts in the UK. I would ignore your ex's threats as they have no substance. However, you would not be able to make a claim through the courts if Dubai is not on the REMO list.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Sep-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi, My son was born in the UK. When he was 8 weeks old I found out about my husband's infidelity. My son and I left for Australia (my native) so that we can be with my extended family with written permission from my husband. My son is now 9 months old and we have established our life in Australia. My son is also now an Australian citizen. My question is can my husband apply to the UK courts to bring my son back to the UK?He has visited my son in Australia twice so far and we have tried to reconcile but it is not possible. How can he gain gain custody of my son?
RJS - 11-Sep-17 @ 1:26 AM
My partner has just moved too Dubai , has blaintly put it down too avoiding the cms , he has links too the U.K. Still ie a house but cms our saying nothing they can do . He's now saying if I take him too court for child support he will request his travel too see his children is included , and I won't get much as I only work 20 hours a week and not helping myself , I work school hours too fit in with the children and don't understand why I could be liable for his travel , when he choose too move . I won't allow the children too go out there due too not having duristication of custody rights and he's quite a nasty leave of work . I know it's not enforceable but at least arrears could amount I just don't understand why I would have too pay HIS costs , he knew what the move would include . Is he just scare mongering . Why should my children miss out on treats and a more comfortable life just because he decides he's not paying . And I'm being far from greedy on £52k non taxable per year I've asked for £250 a month the cms calculation on his old wage .
Holly - 9-Sep-17 @ 7:51 AM
Mike - Your Question:
I am a paying parent, cms is in place but my ex never accepted the payments ( it was my initiative to pay cms, after court order gave our child rights 50/50, child is living with her mum). Next month I am moving to Germany to live there permanently, child is staying in UK. What will happen in this situation - do I have cancel cms or I will be liable to paying it?Many thanks,

Our Response:
Regardless of where you live, you are still responsible for paying child maintenance towards the day-to-day care of your child. You would have to discuss directly with CMS what will be done with the money you pay, if your ex continues not to accept the money.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Aug-17 @ 12:08 PM
I am a paying parent, cms is in place but my ex never accepted the payments ( it was my initiative to pay cms, after court order gave our child rights 50/50, child is living with her mum) . Next month I am moving to Germanyto live there permanently, child is staying in UK. What will happen in this situation - do I have cancel cms or I will be liable to paying it? Many thanks,
Mike - 24-Aug-17 @ 2:37 PM
Eli - Your Question:
My ex apply for a leave to remove for my daughter to take her to an other European country, I refuse to give her the consent to take my child to an other country to live there. Now my question, can I apply for residence order ? I do live with my dad and one of his tenant. Should I look for my own accommodation first? And can I stop paying the mother child support, where I have to pay for solicitor?

Our Response:
With regards to applying for a residence order, much depends upon who is the day-to-day main carer of your child. Whether it is your ex applying for a order to be allowed to take your child to live abroad, or whether you are applying for a residence order the court's main objective is to decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child (not the parents). For instance, if you apply for a residence order and you perhaps only see your child once a week for a few hours, then it is highly unlikely a court would opt to change the resident parent as it would not be seen in the best interests of your child. The most important focus is on giving your child stability and consistency. However, a court will not attempt to stop your ex moving on with her life and if your ex can justify why it is in your daughter's best interests to move to another country with her, then the court is unlikely to object. Likewise, if you can reason why it isn't in yoru child's best interests for your ex to take your child abroad, then the court will listen. If you remember, this is not about you, your ex or her actions, it is always about what a judge thinks is best for your child. In answer to your last question, no, you will still have to continue paying child maintenance. If you cannot afford to be legally represented in court, you can self-litigate. Litigants in person must be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice whether represented by a solicitor or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:27 AM
My ex apply for a leave to remove for my daughter to take her to an other European country, I refuse to give her the consent to take my child to an other country to live there. Now my question, can I apply for residence order ? I do live with my dad and one of his tenant. Should I look for my own accommodation first? And can I stop paying the mother child support, where I have to pay for solicitor?
Eli - 19-Aug-17 @ 5:02 AM
Hi Im haveing a issue with child maintenance, my son is 4 and lives with his mum in Switzerland I returned to uk a broken man cause of how i was treated by my ex and had to focus on rebuildning my life. Problem is the swiss court set my payable amount on a untaxed wage agency wage they expect me to pay 560 pm in maintenance ive been paying 200 as this is all i can afford on min wage 7.50phI did argue that uk is paid very low amount compaired to Switzerland all I got was this is the min amount in Switzerland. Please any advice or a point of contact lawyer wise would be great. as you can imagine this is hugely stressfull and im a bit lost I dont want them to say no contact due to lack of maintenance my son means the world to me and i feel i have been incredably cheated on by the "System" I cant live without my boy in it and i cant live if im going to be running up debts cause of this amount so any advise is great advice thankyou Andy
Andy - 11-Aug-17 @ 9:28 PM
Hol - Your Question:
My mum is moving to Spain at the end of next month, I really would love to go with her, I think it's such a better life style for my son to be bought up in aswell, I'm 21 and I've tried to speak to his dad but he thinks it's unfair on him etc! So I know it would have to go to court, how much of a chance will I have?

Our Response:
We cannot predict what the court may decide as it will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. However, if you show you are willing to have a good access agreement in place with the father, then a court is unlikely to try to prevent you from trying to move on with your life.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-17 @ 3:12 PM
My mum is moving to Spain at the end of next month, I really would love to go with her, I think it's such a better life style for my son to be bought up in aswell, I'm 21 and I've tried to speak to his dad but he thinks it's unfair on him etc! So I know it would have to go to court, how much of a chance will I have?
Hol - 10-Aug-17 @ 7:17 AM
Jan - Your Question:
My cousin's wife of over 10years recently had a set of twins who are just a little over a year old. The twins were born in india and my son has been a good father and partner and because it was a difficult pregnancy and childbirth and outside the country he have had to spend most of his savings and the constant travelling and worry made him loose his job. He left his wife in India and she experienced some difficult times which made her upset and slipped into depression. Her family made a fuss and got her back to come to the uk in order to seek medical attention and she has now heartbreakingly abndoned tge little babies in india and also abandoned the husband and moved in with another man. My cousin had applied for divorce and he wants sole custody of the children. What are his chances especially with the children being out of the country and also considering their ages. The poor little things have been left in care of our extended families. We believe she had acted irresponsibly and the court's should grant us custody of the children but not sure how it would work out with the children still outside the country. Thank you

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Your cousin's only recourse would be to seek legal advice from an international family law solicitor, as it is beyond our remit to advise due to the complex nature of the case.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Aug-17 @ 11:36 AM
My cousin's wife of over 10years recently had a set of twins who are just a little over a year old. The twins were born in india and my son has been a good father and partner and because it was a difficult pregnancy and childbirth and outside the country he have had to spend most of his savings and the constant travelling and worry made him loose his job. He left his wife in India and she experienced some difficult times which made her upset and slipped into depression. Her family made a fuss and got her back to come to the uk in order to seek medical attention and she has now heartbreakingly abndoned tge little babies in india and also abandoned the husband and moved in with another man. My cousin had applied for divorce and he wants sole custody of the children. What are his chances especially with the children being out of the country and also considering their ages. The poor little things have been left in care of our extended families. We believe she had acted irresponsibly and the court's should grant us custody of the children but not sure how it would work out with the children still outside the country. Thank you
Jan - 3-Aug-17 @ 8:22 PM
FC03 - Your Question:
Hi, My partner and I are moving to New Zealand, he has a child here in the U.K. From a previous relationship. He currently pays through the CSA (it is not court ordered payments) I want to find out if when we move will he still be made to pay? As we have seen conflicting information Thanks in advance!

Our Response:
Regardless of where your partner lives in the world, or whether he sees his child or not, he is still classed as responsible for financially supporting his child. The document via the link here contains a list of countries with Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) for decisions made by courts in the UK.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Aug-17 @ 11:25 AM
Hi, My partner and I are moving to New Zealand, he has a child here in the U.K. From a previous relationship. He currently pays through the CSA(it is not court ordered payments) I want to find out if when we move will he still be made to pay? As we have seen conflicting information Thanks in advance!
FC03 - 1-Aug-17 @ 7:17 PM
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
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