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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Apr 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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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
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?
Monica - 2-Apr-17 @ 2:34 PM
My ex recently moved to U.K. from Bermuda. He has never paid child support & since I'm in GA, United States, the laws didn't allow me to file. Now that he's in UK, being a Bermudian citizen, am I able to finally file for maintenance?
Shelby - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:08 AM
Rads - Your Question:
Hi,My son is 3 months. I'm Australian and my husband is British but he has no family in the UK. Our baby was born in the UK. When baby was 1 month old, my husband had an affair and now our marriage has broken down. I've taken my baby to Australia to be with me and my family. I have a letter of consent (which he signed out of guilt) but he is now saying to bring his son back and that he will fight me in court to keep my son in the UK. I have no family in the uk and it is in my child's and my interest that we move to Australia. Can I take my son to Australia permanently?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the letter of authority was consenting to take your child from the country on a temporary or permanent basis. If your ex consented to you taking your child from the UK on a temporary basis and you have not returned to the UK, then he will have recourse to take the matter to court. A court will then decide what it thinks is in your child's best interests and whether by not returning to the UK, you have committed abduction. If your ex consented for you to take your child on a permanent basis and is now trying to retract his consent, it is less likely a court would rule to bring you home. I suggest you seek some legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Mar-17 @ 11:01 AM
Hi, My son is 3 months. I'm Australian and my husband is British but he has no family in the UK. Our baby was born in the UK. When baby was 1 month old, my husband had an affair and now our marriage has broken down. I've taken my baby to Australia to be with me and my family. I have a letter of consent (which he signed out of guilt) but he is now saying to bring his son back and that he will fight me in court to keep my son in the UK. I have no family in the uk and it is in my child's and my interest that we move to Australia. Can I take my son to Australia permanently?
Rads - 26-Mar-17 @ 12:20 PM
Lapa - Your Question:
Me and my husband we r from poland and living and working in uk for last 9years. We have kids 3y and 5month old, we decided to get divorced and I want to go back to poland, but he want to stay in uk and we both want kids with us, kids have uk passports and they r registered at address in poland. If we take it to court does it have to be one in uk or Poland and who's most likely win this? Thanks

Our Response:
The person who is the day-to-day primary carers of your children is the person likely to be given continued residency of your children. However, if care is shared, then a court will always make a decision based upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. Therefore, it makes it impossible to predict what a court may decide. You would have to prove why it is in their best interests to return to your home country. Your husband would have to try to prove why it isn't.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-17 @ 10:57 AM
Me and my husband we r from poland and living and working in uk for last 9years. We have kids 3y and 5month old,we decided to get divorced and i want to go back to poland, but he want to stay in uk and we both want kids with us, kids have uk passports and they r registered at address in poland. If we take it to court does it have to be one in uk or Poland and who's most likely win this? Thanks
Lapa - 15-Mar-17 @ 12:15 PM
Tucker- Your Question:
Hi am wanting some advice I have a daughter to my ex husband I am now happily married again and also have a child with my new husband he has been offered a new job in Spain and we would love to take the opportunity my ex husband has very little contact with my daughter and has had about 6 hours contact in the last year he has already given us written permission to move to our new home in the uk and did not wish to fight it how do we go about moving abroad Any advice would be great thank you

Our Response:
It is very much the same process if you decide to relocate abroad, you would need a letter of consent. If you want something of a more official nature and wish to simultaneously agree access terms, mediation may be the way forward. If your ex refuses, then you would have to apply to the courts for permission.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Mar-17 @ 2:14 PM
Tania - Your Question:
My child's farther has moved perminatly to New Zealand. I have no contact with him or any idea where he lives. Can I claim any child maintenance from him & if so, how do I go about it?

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, please see link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Mar-17 @ 12:29 PM
Hi am wanting some advice i have a daughter to my ex husband I am now happily married again and also have a child with my new husband he has been offered a new job in Spain and we would love to take the opportunity my ex husband has very little contact with my daughter and has had about 6 hours contact in the last year he has already given us written permission to move to our new home in the uk and did not wish to fight it how do we go about moving abroad Any advice would be great thank you
Tucker - 12-Mar-17 @ 7:55 PM
My child's farther has moved perminatly to New Zealand. I have no contact with him or any idea where he lives. Can I claim any child maintenance from him & if so, how do I go about it?
Tania - 12-Mar-17 @ 1:44 PM
travel4work - Your Question:
I am happily married and we have a 3 year old child. A temporary (6 months) contract has come up overseas and I am keen to go for it, with my daughter. My husband will be travelling for his own business during this period and will not be at home much anyway so gives his full support to this, as there are limited opportunities for me for this kind of money where we live. He would visit us over there but due to his work commitments could not stay for the duration. Do I need to apply for any documentation for this temporary situation other than my work visa? Thanks!

Our Response:
A letter from the person with parental responsibility for the child is usually enough to show you’ve got permission to take them abroad. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:37 PM
I am happily married and we have a 3 year old child. A temporary (6 months) contract has come up overseas and I am keen to go for it, with my daughter. My husband will be travelling for his own business during this period and will not be at home much anyway so gives his full support to this, as there are limited opportunities for me for this kind of money where we live. He would visit us over there but due to his work commitments could not stay for the duration. Do I need to apply for any documentation for this temporary situation other than my work visa? Thanks!
travel4work - 9-Mar-17 @ 8:42 PM
Hi, If a parent (mother) leaves her child with the x boyfriend (Dad) who is biological father but not on BC and not married, then comes back for the child and takes the child would this be classed as kidnap.???? thanks
Doughball - 1-Mar-17 @ 7:21 PM
S - Your Question:
Hi, I was wondering how I would go about gaining permission to move my child abroad if the father hasnt had any contact for 4 years? Is there some kind of form I need to apply for or do I go straight to my local law centre/court? I know he wouldn't give his rights up and I wouldn't want to really try to contact him. I'm unsure what I need to do so any advise would be appreciated :)

Our Response:
If your ex has parental responsibility, in the first instance you would have to attempt to contact your ex to request permission. If your ex does not give permission you would then have to apply through the courts. Specific Issue Orders are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues parents can't agree on, such as taking your child to live abroad on a permanent basis. 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. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Feb-17 @ 2:29 PM
Hi, I was wondering how I would go about gaining permission to move my child abroad if the father hasnt had any contact for 4 years? Is there some kind of form I need to apply for or do I go straight to my local law centre/court? I know he wouldn't give his rights up and I wouldn't want to really try to contact him. I'm unsure what I need to do so any advise would be appreciated :)
S - 27-Feb-17 @ 11:32 PM
Beard - Your Question:
Hi. We want to move from UK to Germany with our 7 year-old. The (previously abusive) biological dad lives in another UK city but hasn't seen him in the 3 years since we left there, hasn't paid any maintenance, and has shown no (sober) interest in contact. No official custody case has ever been pursued from either side. We're wondering what steps we'd have to take to move. We anticipate that he'd block a request, but are unsure what grounds he'd have given the history.

Our Response:
If the biological father has parental responsibility, then consent would be needed. However, if he refuses, the matter would have to go through court. It is unlikley a court would refuse if the biological father has little or no contact with the child. Only in cases where there is a strong day-to-day relationship with the other parent and it would seriously fracture the relationship, or where the courts deem a move not to be in the best interests of the child, may the court be likely to refuse.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Feb-17 @ 11:36 AM
Natalie - Your Question:
Me and my partner are going through a divorce. We were married for 12 years and it was an arranged marriage as we are asians living in England. His family has been very controlling of him and our Marriage ended after he abducted our son under the influence of his family. He has currently got supervised contact and keeps pushing for the contact to extend to his family. His older brother has mentally abused our son by saying things to him a 7years old child should not know. He stopped him in a mall yesterday and My son saw his uncle and father and want to Give his father a hug. I was shocked and disturbed as they had followed us there. Can I get a restraining order against my ex husbands brother towards my son. I don't my son to cross paths again with his abusive intimidating uncle. Please advice Tia

Our Response:
You can see more about harassment via the CAB link here and via the Ask the Police link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Feb-17 @ 10:50 AM
Hi. We want to move from UK to Germany with our 7 year-old. The (previously abusive) biological dad lives in another UK city but hasn't seen him in the 3 years since we left there, hasn't paid any maintenance, and has shown no (sober) interest in contact. No official custody case has ever been pursued from either side. We're wondering what steps we'd have to take to move. We anticipate that he'd block a request, but are unsure what grounds he'd have given the history.
Beard - 26-Feb-17 @ 11:30 AM
Me and my partner are going through a divorce. We were married for 12 years and it was an arranged marriage as we are asians living in England. His family has been very controlling of him and our Marriage ended after he abducted our son under the influence of his family. He has currently got supervised contact and keeps pushing for the contact to extend to his family. His older brother has mentally abused our son by saying things to him a 7years old child should not know. He stopped him in a mall yesterday and My son saw his uncle and father and want to Give his father a hug. I was shocked and disturbed as they had followed us there. Can I get a restraining order against my ex husbands brother towards my son. I don't my son to cross paths again with his abusive intimidating uncle. Please advice Tia
Natalie - 26-Feb-17 @ 8:58 AM
Bobby25 - Your Question:
Where does the law stand now because of brexit( not being part of the E.U)when filing for a Remo 8 when non paying parent lives in the Republic of Ireland, is there still a case for child support

Our Response:
It's likely the Republic of Ireland will remain on the list of REMO countries, which span the globe.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Feb-17 @ 2:13 PM
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