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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Mar 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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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
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
Bobby25 - 13-Feb-17 @ 7:07 PM
My Wife is moving to the UK for work, we have a small child that she will move to. am required to give details on care arrangements in place of the child. in my option, i will be giving monthly financial support to the child. is this answer enough or i need to give more details?kindly advice and maybe give example Thank you
Geff - 26-Jan-17 @ 10:04 AM
Chicken - Your Question:
Hi my ex works in dubai he hasn't paid maintenance for the last 3 years. He as managed to pay off his morgage to his £ 345000 house. He returns to England permantly April and earned enough to retire. Is it worth me going to court to get some sort of order for maintence for our 12 year old ? Thankyou

Our Response:
You may wish to try via the REMO link here . If Dubai is not one of the member countries, please check here, then court would be your only other option. However, you would have to seek legal advice as due to the costs involved you would need a strong case.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi my ex works in dubai he hasn't paid maintenance for the last 3 years . He as managed to pay off his morgage to his £ 345000house . He returns to England permantly April and earned enough to retire . Is it worth me going to court to get some sort of order for maintence for our 12 year old ? Thankyou
Chicken - 18-Jan-17 @ 5:07 PM
Hello I need some advice so my child father not seen my daughter over a year and not pay a penny for her for her 4 years of her life and I want to moveabroadHow do I go about it
Sarah - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:43 PM
Juzzy - Your Question:
Hi. I'm planning on moving to Republic of Ireland but still wish to regularly come back to England so see my son, without issue from my ex, how do I go about making this legal agreement so she doesn'tCan't stop me Still seeing my son?

Our Response:
You would either have to consider mediation, please see link here. Or, if your ex refuses to consider mediation you would have the option to apply for a child arrangement order, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:35 PM
Hi. I'm planning on moving to Republic of Ireland but still wish to regularly come back to England so see my son, without issue from my ex, how do I go about making this legal agreement so she doesn't Can't stop me Still seeing my son?
Juzzy - 9-Jan-17 @ 7:23 AM
abbey82 - Your Question:
My partner who lives in the UK had a child that was born in sweden. His never seen her but csa is now taking money out his wages. Is this correct now we are out of the eu or doe that matter.

Our Response:
Your partner is responsible for supporting his child financially regardless of where his ex and child is living and/or whether he sees his child or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:03 PM
My partner who lives in the UK had a child that was born in sweden. His never seen her but csa is now taking money out his wages. Is this correct now we are out of the eu or doe that matter.
abbey82 - 4-Jan-17 @ 1:56 PM
Hello, my dear friend is a US citizen, resident in the U.K. for many years. Her 2 children were born here before her husband left her for another woman with whom he now has 2 more children. He pays the minimum and they are struggling financially. My friend wants to return to the US where she would have family to help, enabling her to work full time. The children's father will not give consent despite seeing them very infrequently. He now says he is moving to Spain but still will not give consent. Can he block them moving to the US even though he is abandoning them?
US friend - 31-Dec-16 @ 6:28 PM
Please note REMO is not for residents in Scotland. The information given is for U.K. Parents, but is incorrect. I know as I have been down this route .
Ellay - 23-Dec-16 @ 10:03 PM
Confused_father - Your Question:
Hi there. I'm really stuck at the moment because my still wife keeps taking my son out of the country and threatening to stay in turkey. I have been paying child maintenance for over a year now but haven't seen my son in over 3 months. I haven't granted her permission to do this. She doesn't tell me when or if she's coming back. Where do I stand with paying maintenance please. thanks

Our Response:
You still are legally responsible for paying child maintenance to your ex, regardless of whether she is in the country or not. If you stop paying and you are paying through the CMS, you will be liable to have to pay arrears. If you have a family-based arrangement, then you can stop paying and it would be up to your wife to pursue future payments. If your ex has moved from the country without your consent (and you have parental authority) then this could be classed as abduction, if she refuses to return, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Dec-16 @ 1:44 PM
Hi there. I'm really stuck at the moment because my still wife keeps taking my son out of the country and threatening to stay in turkey. I have been paying child maintenance for over a year now but haven't seen my son in over 3 months. I haven't granted her permission to do this. She doesn't tell me when or if she's coming back. Where do I stand with paying maintenance please. thanks
Confused_father - 6-Dec-16 @ 12:03 AM
My partner is paying £500 a month in child maintenance payments for his children in the U.K. He's also been regularly sending money to his sons mother Jamaica to support him via western union. Child maintenance don't recognize this child or the payments being made. My partners 16 year old son has now been made homeless.He's now staying in his fathers old room. He will need more money sent to him to enable him to live as a independent. How do we get child maintenance to recognize the extra monies my partner is sending abroad?This child lives in a poverty stricken area and needs financial backing in the country he lives in. The room he's staying in will need a cooker, fridge, furniture, bedding, TV etc as the rest of the house is just an empty.
Nat - 4-Dec-16 @ 9:29 PM
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