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Moving Abroad, The Issues

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 16 February 2014 |
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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i moved from the uk to spain with my partner and our two sons, in august we woke up to find him gone and heard nothing from him for 2 weeks then we got a call saying he was living in florida he had gone to meet a woman he met online. he stayed with her and applied for a marriage licence within 3 weeks of arriving in the usa, the day after the licence was issued he left her and went with another woman in the same area and married this woman within 3 weeks(obviously the need to marry someone was to obtain visa and green card) he has been out of status since november and i have only contact with him through email he will not give me a contact number or address or information as to if he is working legally or illegally. i have found an adress online ofr his wife but he will not verify if it is the correct oe he deniys having recived any post from me. my question is how do i claim child support from him. i have had to return to live with family in ireland and because i have been out of the country for over 4 years have to prove habitual residency i have no income and at teh moment i dont have a right to claim stae benefit , my ex partner and my sons are british citizens and i am irish citizen, can you please advuse me on how to persue child support.
sandy2662 - 16-Feb-14 @ 3:48 AM
My husband and I are legally separated.We have an 11 yr old boy and he lives with me full time.Because of the finally hardship I have suffered due to him draining me financially and not willing to work something out with the divorce I have taken a course to teach English abroad.I have looked at several countries taking in consideration schooling, cost of living etc., and I have found a place in the Red Sea Egypt.It is a very good place.I live in Nova Scotia and things are so expensive here and I am getting no help physically in any way from my ex-husband albeit he -pays child support and spousal support but living here is expensive and I have utilized all my savings to go to school, keep our house, divorce etc.There is a good chance I can do much better there I want to go and try for a year.Would the courts take in consideration the financial hardship I am having here and the chance I have at making a better living..
Lin - 18-Sep-13 @ 1:35 PM
I have just received a letter from a lawyer in South Africa on behalf ofa woman I was in a brief relationship with 13 years ago, claiming that there is a child of mine and that they want maintenance. I have never recieved any formal request for maintenance and have doubt as to wether the child is mine. I am Zimbabwean and living in the U.K. Any advice will be greatly appreciated
rs - 10-Jul-13 @ 11:38 AM
My husband just found out he has a 16 year old child in England. There is no doubt the child is biologically his, will he have to pay back childsupport if the mother decides to legally pursue? Would he have to go to court in England if the biological mother pursues child support? She will be 17 in a month and we want to be prepared just in case.
byteme - 24-Jun-13 @ 9:14 PM
My 15 yr old son and myself are here in Canada on holiday with my future husband and his family. My son's father has not seen him for over four years, that has always been my son's choice after he witnessed a beating I took that my husband recieved 12 months probation for. As soon as we arrived he took his maintainence order back to court and I am now left with nothing from him for the upkeep of my son and his education. His reasons are that I recieved a small amount from the death of my mother, he stated I was marrying a wealthy man ( he is not wealthy) , that we intend to live in Canada. I return to the uk in just over a week, in time for my son to be back in school, we have not left the UK as we are awaiting my son's student visa then we will apply for me to live in Canada. I have read up a little and surely it is about him maintaining his son? Marrying my partner has nothing to do with my ex paying for his own child. Surely it is his responsibility? I'm heading straight to a lawyer when I land back in the uk on 1st September to fight this. Footnote....it is my ex that is the wealthy man, also controlling, I am asumming this is all part of the control issues he has ( leave and I will stop paying) and hope the judge sees this.
lulu - 22-Aug-12 @ 6:28 PM
I was born and brought up in australia so I am australian citizen, my daughter was also born in australia and is a australian citizen although her father was born in and is a british citizen. My daughter and myself moved to the UK to be with her dad and as a couple after a year of living in australia as a single parent and not receiving any support from her father for the first 18months. since then my daughter has been given a british passport and I am still in the process of getting my visa to stay (this has been lodged). I have now decide that the uk isn't best for myself and my daughter to be brought up in the uk and would like to move back to australia, but her dad my partner is not willing to move back yet (if ever). Where do I stand when it comes to leaving, will he be able to stop me moving back with my daughter even though that we are both australian citizens and are not even legal to be in the country as yet.
Emma - 22-Aug-12 @ 9:34 AM
Hmarshall90.There is no easy way of asking your sons father for permission about Cyprus. You are going to take his boys out of the country for a very long time. Its not like your just down the road or the next town/city, where he can call to see them if he needs to.You are going to have to meet him somewhere private, not in either homes and tell him your plans honestly. Expect him to get a little angry and upset (because this is a big thing for him to take in) and you must stay calm, put yourself in his position. Tell him of the positive things your children will get, from the life experience of better schooling, mixing with children from different countries, learning of new languages, seeing parts of the world lots of other children don't get to see, tell him about Skype. You need to make him see that this move is going to be an amazing thing for his sons and their future and not just about you taking them away from him.I should know my ex took my boy away to Belgium with her new husband (Army) and I was devastated about it. But my son has had some amazing opportunities over there in school and loved every minute of it.The Skype thing though won't last, 4 months before they start to be less frequent and the holidays home become too expensive also. (Well so yous seem to say). Good luck.Tone.
Tone - 15-Aug-12 @ 3:46 PM
i am wanting to move to marriage quarters in cyprus with my partner and my 2 year old son but im scared that my sons father would try and stop me. which is the best way of asking my child's father for permission? i am going to be fair to him and still give him contact through skype or phone calls and also come home every so often for my son to see his dad and he can stay with him for the duration of our stay in the uk. does this seem fair?
hmarshall90 - 6-Aug-12 @ 10:23 AM
I recently moved to dubai just under a year ago, but i originally lived in the Uk and am from there, i also still have my house in the UK. I'm 15, and now in my final year at school. My family always said we'd all come back one i'd finished my studies at school and was 16, but now my dad chooses otherwise and refuses to let me come back to the UK until i'm at least 18. I really want to move back to the UK and then continue going to college there, and perhaps get a part time job whilst i'll be 16/17, which i also cannot get in dubai. It is legal for me to move out in the UK at 16, and i know it would be a big step and i would have to do all this on my own, but i also have family and friends in the uk that will help and support me. I just wanted to know, is it fine for my dad to make me stay in dubai till i'm 18...would it be legal for me to move back to the uk and move out, and all the things i said above^? HELP thankyou x
Beckie - 28-Jul-12 @ 1:01 PM
I'm a Lebanese citizen I'v been married for 13 years now and i got 2kids a son 13 years old and a daughter 4 years old I have been treated so bad over the 13 years I supported my ex all my life and nothing in return lately I was hitn so bad and never was good to his own kids there is no human rights in my country and I don't have financially support here I work hard as I can but still can't pay for every thing life Is very hard here is there any country that can help and protect from the vailince of my ex me and my kids for a better life and get out of here
Manal - 27-Jul-12 @ 1:07 AM
cally - 11-Jul-12 @ 9:36 PM
There is no father who does not want to the child support. But when place too much percentage on one parent which you know that some women may plan it. When one parent is getting child benefit including some unreasonable percentage from father. That is why there is so much criminal because there is a cause on onethe money their mother is getting to feed them. Most of the criminal in UK are from single mothers. Then what is the benefit of the money they forcefully get from fathers.
koko - 1-Jul-12 @ 12:26 PM
I have been offered a job in germany and i am enquiring as to how i will stand with the csa ( i am tryingto arrange a private deal with ex but she wont do it if csa can still hit me with a deo) . this company is registered in germany but on further research i have found that a british holding company owns significant shares, will the csa still beable to hit me with a deo or assessment because of this?
smithy - 20-Jun-12 @ 2:01 PM
I live in Botswana with my 11 year old twins. I divorced my husband 4 years ago and the court ordered him in Botswana to pay maintenance which he has never paid. We are all British citizens. He disappeared and I have recently discovered he is living in London. How do I go about trying to get him to pay?
Flis - 18-Jun-12 @ 2:59 PM
I have a 3yr old son who i want to take to australia to live, where my brother lives and my parents and other sibling are also moving over, leaving me with no family here. My son has only recently started contact wih his dad because he is a recovering alcoholic aswell as his sister. can he stop me by taking me court and do you think i have a strong case as he has never been consistent and i am wanting to take my son abroad for a better life
claireo - 17-Jun-12 @ 10:15 PM
Im moving to the USA with my american with and my son from my previous marrage wants to move with me once he is 16 and completed his studies. Can my ex-wife stop him from doing this?
Pcsuper - 14-Jun-12 @ 10:50 AM
@ISM. Why would you not want to try and continue to support your children financially?
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Apr-12 @ 2:17 PM
I have moved to The USA with my American wife from the UK, I hold a US green card. 1 Do I still have to pay child support? 2 My children are 15 and 13 3 There is a court order in the UK from 12 years ago to pay an amount is this enforceable. 4 I am out of work at the mo does this make a difference. Thanks.
ISM - 19-Apr-12 @ 12:10 AM
My wife wants to return to indonesia with our son,who is 3.5 yrs old. I believe under Indonesian law he can not become an indonesian citizen. he was born in the uk. if he should go to Indonesia, he would not get any of the benefits that he would enjoy inthe uk. The schools there are are much worse and there is no nhs service, as well as an increased chance of tropical illness. Are there any grounds for awarding custordy on human rights issues.i am a uk citizen
stevenmillwall - 11-Apr-12 @ 4:21 PM
We moved to Thailand as a family 5 years ago. Within 6 months of arriving my husband left me and our 2 daughters aged 7 and 11.He left us with no financial support whatsoever.Now he has been deported back to the UK from Thailand (overstay on his visa) and his back living in the UK.I remain in Thailand with 2 children.He still refuses to work (he hasn't worked for over 5 years now). I work full-time and provide for the children.A little something from him would be wonderful..Can he walk away without a care in the world and start over with a consideration for the support of his two biological childrenThank you for your help!
melanie - 5-Apr-12 @ 12:16 PM
My child was born in Russia and got his British citizenship from the local British Embassy as me and his father were married. Later we moved as a family to the UK where we lived for about one year and half, our son was registered locally with NHS and went to the local playgroups etc. Later due to domestic violence me and our son returned back home where I filed for divorce. My (now ex) husband hired a local lawyer by who he was represented in the local court so he is well aware of all court decisions including child's support which he never objected in the court. Since the divorce (now for about 2 years) he never visited our son and never send him any financial support. My question is: as in both our contries the parent who is not in care of a child is obliged by the law to support the child is it possible for me to demand child support from him via any British authorities and how(in case it is possible)? I got a job and provide for my son on my own and to be honest I do not expect anything from his father in any way.During last years our son had 2 serious medical operations which I fully sponsored and took care of him when the child needed it most. However I just thought that if his father isentitled to provide child support, this moneyeven if limited) could be a contribution to child's needs or even just put on some account so my son could use it for his health or education when he is of full legal age.Thank you for the advice.
tina - 3-Apr-12 @ 9:35 AM
My daughterdivorced her husband several years ago my daughter then decided to move to gran canaria for work reasons leaving her daughter in the care of her ex-husband andhis new wife . Now her daughter is 13 years oldand now wishes to live with her mum in gran canaria what are my daughters andgranddaughters legal rights thank you
ron - 2-Apr-12 @ 8:03 PM
I have recently divorced my husband who is a british citizen and have since decided to move back with my 4yr old son who was also born in the uk to my country of birth. Can start claiming child support from my ex husband? He currently gives us no assistant and i am still looking for work here
gigi - 1-Apr-12 @ 5:05 PM
My family are looking to move to australia, I am divorced from my daughter aged 8 years father and she has not seen him in 18months and he has not made attempt to see her visits were sporadic before this but he stopped when I got remarried.Can I take her to Australia to live>
saz - 2-Mar-12 @ 10:50 PM
My child is born in UK,British cos of her dad.Me from Czech republic.Because of domestic violence and i am not entiled to benefits in this country cos i haven't paid enough contributions,i will have to return to my country.CSA has settep up child maintaince already.My question is,will i be still receiving the same ammount once in different country ??
adnil - 28-Feb-12 @ 6:58 PM
I am an expecting mother currently living in Taiwan, after finding out that the father of the baby is a liar and cheater, we now have separated.However I need to get living support from him for myself and the unborn baby, and support after the baby is born too. I am of British Citizen, the father is Taiwanese, am I protect by the UK, British Laws over here?Can I use UK Laws to take him to court and demand child support?
HT - 18-Jan-12 @ 11:25 AM
My now two year old son was born in Australia, and although he born in australia is not an Australian citizen. This was because the mother and myself are British citizens. The mother was given permission, by the family court in Australia, and was able to take my son to Singapore where he now lives. I have now moved back to England and recently received a letter from the Australian CSA that they have now closed my case due to no parties living in australia. I note in the article above there could be a jurisdiction issue if the mother was to make a claim against me with the uk CSA. Is that the case? I want to pay towards my son, I want to contribute to his needs however the mother is contravening the orders in Australia and is not allowing me to see him. The are contravenng matters still pending in the Australia however the mother recognises that Singapore is not a signaturey to the Hague Convention. She also earns &450,000pa
Nella - 16-Dec-11 @ 11:52 PM
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