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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 29 Nov 2016 |
 
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]
@Benny - Child maintenance is paid by the father only. I don't think she has much of a case unless the court finds you are channelling money via your wife. Col.
CBM79 - 30-Nov-16 @ 1:51 PM
Hi. I am the father of two sons to my ex who is British. I am also a British citizen but I am now living in America with my wife who is an American citizen. Due to my immigration process I am currently out of work until my work permit comes through. My ex back in the uk has now said she is going to the courts and she is trying to get them to take money from my wife to pay the maintenance. Is this possible ?? I'm not trying to dodge payments, as soon as I am working I am planning to pay maintenance but she doesn't want to wait. Appreciate any advice.
Benny - 29-Nov-16 @ 11:33 PM
Hi, My cousin moved to New Zealand from the uk a few years ago. He got into a relationship and had a beautiful daughter together. Unfortunately due to his visa running out and there being unforseeable issues renewing my cousin has had to come back to the uk. He had recently had a very Nast break up with his daughters mother who is now saying "you will never see your daughter again" What avenues would he have to go down to get at least joint custody?
Cousin1 - 26-Nov-16 @ 9:47 PM
Hi my ex has give up her parental rights and my son now lives in Ireland with his Nan do I still have to pay child support
Chelsea - 20-Nov-16 @ 5:42 PM
Tara - Your Question:
Forgot to mention that we were never married.

Our Response:
It does not matter if you were married or not, you can still claim child support if he is the father of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 10:30 AM
Tara - Your Question:
Hello,I am a US citizen who had a child with my ex, who is a British citizen. My child was born in the states & has US citizenship. My ex has not paid me any child support & currently lives in Dubai. I know he is not employed, however he has many assets & bank accounts in the UK. Is there anything I can do to get child support? Thank you.

Our Response:
In the UK, child support is based on earnings, therefore your ex may be exempt from paying. However, if his income generates earnings i.e through interest, or his assets (i.e rental income) then he will be eligible to pay. However, you would have to enquire whether US and Dubai have a reciprocal enforcement of maintenance order agreements of a similar nature. As we are a UK-based site we have knowledge of only UK-reciprocal countries, not US.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 10:25 AM
Forgot to mention that we were never married.
Tara - 13-Nov-16 @ 1:11 AM
Hello, I am a US citizen who had a child with my ex, who is a British citizen. My child was born in the states & has US citizenship. My ex has not paid me any child support & currently lives in Dubai. I know he is not employed, however he has many assets & bank accounts in the UK. Is there anything I can do to get child support? Thank you.
Tara - 13-Nov-16 @ 1:09 AM
Hi I have been through and this present a lot fighting for my child's residency order against my x husband and now it looks like that in the future of me moving to Norway with my son will double the hassle , emotional and financial. He is strongly against the moving already. Can anybody tell me how much ideally will cost you to get to court and get removal of jurisdiction pls?? Thank you
Noem - 3-Nov-16 @ 2:01 PM
My ex wife and i split up in 2012. She was from USA initially (WA state) and wanted to move back therein divorce, to which i agreed.Maintenance has been agreed between us and has been paid at the agreed fixed rate inever since. Now the exchange rate has dipped, the $ that my daughter receives has dipped dramatically. I can't afford more money . Is it just unfortunate that the exchange rate has dipped? any other suggestions. Relations are normally OK with the EX but this is leaving her short in the money dept,
bert - 28-Oct-16 @ 3:27 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi, I am currently a teacher in the uk with 2 daughters (9 & 12). They see their father approx once a week. He works 50 miles away on irregular shifts. I would like to work overseas for a fixed period (2 years) as it would be financially better and would give all three of us a great opportunity. But my ex husband is flatly refusing. He was charged with harassment of me during the divorce and I had to go to court for a prohibited steps order which is now a child arrangement order saying the girls reside with me. Is there anything I can do to stop him from blocking this great opportunity?Any help appreciated thanks.

Our Response:
If your ex applies for a PSO, you would have to justify why it was in your children's best interests to move abroad. The court will not definitely award your ex the PSO, it would weigh up both of your circumstances and reasons before making a decision. If your ex is just flatly refusing his consent, then you would have to apply to the courts for a Specific Issue Order, and likewise the court would decide upon what it thinks is in your children's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Oct-16 @ 2:47 PM
Hi, I am currently a teacher in the uk with 2 daughters (9 & 12). They see their father approx once a week. He works 50 miles away on irregular shifts. I would like to work overseas for a fixed period (2 years) as it would be financially better and would give all three of us a great opportunity. But my ex husband is flatly refusing. He was charged with harassment of me during the divorce and I had to go to court for a prohibited steps order which is now a child arrangement order saying the girls reside with me. Is there anything I can do to stop him from blocking this great opportunity? Any help appreciated thanks.
Sam - 23-Oct-16 @ 4:44 PM
aa - Your Question:
Hiplease can somebody help me, am struggling a lot in my life, am separated from my husb and he is not paying any child maintenance since 5 years. He lives abroad and he is jus running away from his responsibility. I don't know what to do and how to claim the child maintenance. I don't know if he is working abroad, I want to know if he is not working abroad, is REMO will be able to get money from him to pay the child maintenance. please help. thanks. am just stress. he is just enjoying his life and spending everything with his family and friends. please I need advice. thanks

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK, you would have to contact the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance team directly, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Oct-16 @ 2:03 PM
Hi please can somebody help me, am struggling a lot in my life, am separated from my husb and he is not paying any child maintenance since 5 years. He lives abroad and he is jus running away from his responsibility. I don't know what to do and how to claim the child maintenance. I don't know if he is working abroad, I want to know if he is not working abroad, is REMO will be able to get money from him to pay the child maintenance. please help. thanks. am just stress. he is just enjoying his life and spending everything with his family and friends. pleaseI need advice. thanks
aa - 20-Oct-16 @ 11:37 PM
@Suey - can't you just apply to have her name and your name changed by Deed Poll and move? If you don't know where your ex is in order to contact him, then you can apply through the courts for the name change without his consent. Also you might be able to apply through the courts to have his parental responsibility removed, if you can prove your concerns are valid.
Charlie77 - 7-Oct-16 @ 1:48 PM
Hi, Long story cut short. I found out through the UK police that my foreign husband was a prison absconder who committed a serious crime with a different name. I lived with him and his lies from 2008 to 2012, once I found out the truth I stopped all contact with him. We have a daughter and his name is on the Birth Certificate. I and my daughter are both born and bred British Citizens, she is now at risk of possibly being kidnapped. My solicitor has said not to worry as he would need to apply to the courts here in the UK for anything to do with my daughter but I have noticed you can apply for a copy of a birth certificate from abroad. I am worried he will try and do this to obtain fake documents for her. I do not know if his surname is real, I know now that he paid a lot of money to get to the UK originally illegally. Can I protect my daughters birth certificate in any way or get the surname changed on there to protect her.I know I can apply for a Child arrangement order and a PCO but if he gets hold of her birth certificate, I know he will try and kidnap her.Thank you in advance.
Suey - 6-Oct-16 @ 10:42 PM
Jane - Your Question:
We hold a Special Guardianship order for our two grandchildren, we moved out of the UK to another EU country with the court permission to remove the children from the uk. The childrens father used to pay child support on a voluntary basis but has now not done so for 18 months. The childrens mother never contributed at all. Can I get a crossborder agreement to force them both to pay. Thankyou.

Our Response:
Please see the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Oct-16 @ 11:21 AM
We hold a Special Guardianship order for our two grandchildren, we moved out of the UK to another EU country with the court permission to remove the children from the uk. The childrens father used to pay child support on a voluntary basis but has now not done so for 18 months. The childrens mother never contributed at all. Can I get a crossborder agreement to force them both to pay. Thankyou.
Jane - 5-Oct-16 @ 1:57 PM
@madkat - you can move abroad without his authorisation as it's not like he could prosecute you for abduction, especially if you are moving to the country he actually lives in!
Livvie - 6-Sep-16 @ 1:56 PM
long story-my ex is british, we moved to france 4 years ago but he only stayed for 4-5 months before he went back to the UK and met someone else. He has now moved to the USA and we dont know where he is and he has remarried. He has PR over my youngest daughter but we now want to move to the USA too as i have met someone and we wish to marry. We have lived in France for 4 years now so the UK has no jursidiction over my child. I have no idea how to contact my ex so how do I move the states legally without his permission? He hasnt seen my daughter in over a year and a half, provides no maintenance for her and has no contact at all since he remarried
madkat - 5-Sep-16 @ 9:05 PM
I have two children, the eldest is my ex husband's the youngests biological left when I was 3 months pregnant, so not even on the birth certificate. The ex husband had taken parental legal right of my life youngest as he had no father. I am moving out of the country with both children. My ex husband has given consent to take both of them, his biological and my son who he has parental legal right over, out of the country. Could the biological, at any point, turn up and request I return to the UK with his biological son? Thanks
mummy22 - 2-Sep-16 @ 11:24 PM
May I advise I feel part of this article is slightly misleading. Were it suggests 'if there is no order they can ask child support authorities in the foreign country to make a maintenance order for them'. The father of my child lives in Florida, I live in the UK and we had a mutual arrangement for child support. However he has failed to pay the child support for the last 4 years. After reading your article I contact Florida Child Support who informed me that I could not make a maintenance order with them as I don't live in the country.It appears I will have to apply for a court order in the UK and request REMO contact Florida Child Support.
jf - 2-Sep-16 @ 11:25 AM
I have question. I move to england for my husband, but we split, meanwhile he was sentences by court for sexual harrasment and other things and deported to Poland,i stay here coz here i can givefuture to my kids.I want divorce and get full custody coz he dont even ask about them. He dont try to contact with me
Kat - 1-Sep-16 @ 8:46 PM
Hi, I have three children with a man that I was never married to. I have always lived with my children and taken care of the children on my own. The man has now relocated to the US. I wanted to find out how Do I go about to have custodianship which allows me to travel anywhere with the children without the fathers consent since he is on their birth certificates. I understand there are some countries which require the fathers affidavit when I want to gain entry and this is going to be difficult for me since the father is now based in USA
Misse - 31-Aug-16 @ 11:49 PM
I live in the UK with my wife who is a British citizen. I have lived here for 5 years we have been married for 6. I took and passed the life in the UK test andI was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2013.would like to apply for UK citizenship however my USA passport was taken during a visit to the US embassy in London due to arrears in child support payment. I have a Biometric card showing I have indefinite leave. Can I use this to apply for a British passport or will they require my US passport which I no longer have.
Concerned - 29-Aug-16 @ 6:15 PM
I am a US citizen living in the UK with my English husband for the last 5 years. I have a 5 year old son born here and I am now pregnant with another child. Our marriage has been dissolving for the past few years, and now I wish to file for divorce and return to the US so I can I have the support of my family during the remainder of my pregnancy and give birth in the US. My husband will not allow me to take my son abroad with me and he says he has the right to refuse all visitation to the US, basically if I leave I will never see my son again. I'm scared to leave and scared to stay and have another child in this custody debate. I am not a UK citizen, and in the event of a divorce I lose my Visa here and have to return to my home country. Can my husband refuse joint custody? Are custody agreements in the UK enforced in the US or vice versa?
USmum - 27-Aug-16 @ 7:09 PM
Thejoysoflife - Your Question:
My son was born in Oct 2002, I'm not or ever have been married to his mother, I'm on the birth certificate however because of the law changes I do not believe I have much rights. There Is also no written parental agreement by a court either. His mother wants to move to southern Ireland with my son. I've been prevented from seeing him because I'm not part of their religion ( which I don't need to go into) and my son has taken his Mothers idea I've been paying maintenance every month since he was 2 and he's now 14 in October. What are my rights in view of him moving to southern Ireland and being prevented from seeing him and child maintenance?!

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you are on the birth certificate or not, you can still apply for access to your child and parental responsibility if you choose. However, if you do not currently have PR, then it would make it more difficult for you to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order which would allow the court to decide whether your ex should be allowed to move away. If you are not on the birth certificate, then you have no current parental responsibility rights (which means your ex does not have to request your consent). I therefore recommend you take some legal advice to explore your options. As a positive, because your son is now 14 his opinion will also count in the court with regards to access etc, meaning if your son wishes to maintain a relationship with you, the court will seriously take on board his preferences (regardless of the mother's opinion) and decide upon what it thinks is in his best interests. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Aug-16 @ 1:48 PM
My son was born in Oct 2002, I'm not or ever have been married to his mother,I'm on the birth certificate however because of the law changesI do not believe I have much rights. There Is also no written parental agreement by a court either. His mother wants to move to southern Ireland with my son.I've been prevented from seeing him because I'm not part of their religion ( which I don't need to go into)and my son has taken his Mothers idea I've been paying maintenance every month since he was 2 and he's now 14 in October. What are my rights in view of him moving to southern Ireland and being prevented from seeing him and child maintenance?!
Thejoysoflife - 18-Aug-16 @ 5:37 PM
heart101 - Your Question:
Hi, I currently live in Leicester and have 2 boys. I am not with the fathers of the children anymore. My parents are moving to Cornwall and want me to move with them, which I do want to. I have had permission to move from one father, but I know I will have trouble with my youngest sons father. I am not sure what my rights are in regards to moving with my children? Thanks

Our Response:
As specified in the article, you need to ask for consent if the father has parental responsibility. If the father refuses, you would have to take the matter to court. Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of PR. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on, such as taking the 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.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Aug-16 @ 10:19 AM
Hi, I currently live in Leicester and have 2 boys. I am not with the fathers of the children anymore. My parents are moving to Cornwall and want me to move with them, which I do want to. I have had permission to move from one father, but I know i will have trouble with my youngest sons father. I am not sure what my rights are in regards to moving with my children? Thanks
heart101 - 16-Aug-16 @ 11:49 AM
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