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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Aug 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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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
MRSY - Your Question:
My ex partner has married an Indonesian woman and moved to Indonesia. She owns a camp site and he now runs it with her. He pays me no mainteance at all toward bringing up his child. And as I know his wife is supporting him in Indonesia, the business is now joint. How do I enforce child mainteance by him now he lives in Indonesia? Any information on who to contact would be gratefully recieved. Kind regards.

Our Response:
Indonesia is not one of the listed REMO countries where a Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order can be enforced. You can contact the department here to see whether Malaysia has been confirmed.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Aug-16 @ 2:02 PM
My ex partner has married an Indonesian woman and moved to Indonesia. She owns a camp site and he now runs it with her. He pays me no mainteance at all toward bringing up his child. And as I know his wife is supporting him in Indonesia, the business is now joint. How do I enforce child mainteance by him now he lives in Indonesia? Any information on who to contact would be gratefully recieved. Kind regards.
MRSY - 3-Aug-16 @ 8:53 PM
Swiftly- Your Question:
Hi my parents live in Southern Ireland and I want to move there with my girls I have been separated from their father for 6 she won't divorce me and lives with his new girlfriend in the uk I have a partner and we both have jobs to start in Ireland my father is terminally ill and I want to spend time with him do I need the fathers permission to take my girls to a better life he does not pay regularly and was violent towards me and is always saying spiteful things to our girls about me ? I just want to give them a good child hood and all the chances they deserve in life

Our Response:
If the father has parental reponsibility, then by law you have to gain consent from your ex in order to move, as in essence you will be guilty of abduction. As specified in the article if your ex refuses, you can apply though court. It is advisable to take the legal route as the father's opinion and thoughts on this are viewed to be as valid as yours.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Aug-16 @ 1:56 PM
Hi my parents live in Southern Ireland and I want to move there with my girls I have been separated from their father for 6 she won't divorce me and lives with his new girlfriend in the uk I have a partner and we both have jobs to start in Ireland my father is terminally ill and I want to spend time with him do I need the fathers permission to take my girls to a better life he does not pay regularly and was violent towards me and is always saying spiteful things to our girls about me ? I just want to give them a good child hood and all the chances they deserve in life
Swiftly - 1-Aug-16 @ 9:26 PM
Jedi - Your Question:
I am a mother living with my daughter in the uk, her father lives in the Isle of Man, when I moved here the father reduced her money because he said he shouldn't have to pay for her if she isn't living here, he also said he will need to the extra money for occasional visits to the uk to see her oh and expects me to pay half of all flight fees and um fees if she should go over there to visit him, can I add he wants her to go over every half school term, I can't afford all these fees anymore because I have to maintain my child on the little amount of money he gives me. Also he gave me less than 5 minutes to sign an agreement I had not yet read about terms and conditions on me moving here regarding our daughter, I told him the agree doesn't stand in my eyes as I was literally forced to sign it having seconds to get on a boat to move here. So he wrote up a new one and sent me it, which I haven't signed. Can anybody help me please please please

Our Response:
You don't say who issued the agreement i.e whether it was drawn up by a solicitor or mediator, or drawn up by your ex as a document of consent. However, you do not have to sign or agree to anything you do not wish to and if your ex wants to challenge this, his option would be to take the matter to court. Any agreement, unless issued through a court of law, holds no water as circumstances can change. I can only suggest you take legal advice. If you are not happy with your family-based child maintenance agreement, then you can apply for maintenance via the CMS. If you can't agree the terms of your separation between you or via mediation, the only other alternative option is through court. The court will then make a decision upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child and you will both have to adhere to whatever arrangement is reached.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jul-16 @ 2:03 PM
I am a mother living with my daughter in the uk, her father lives in the Isle of Man, when I moved here the father reduced her money because he said he shouldn't have to pay for her if she isn't living here, he also said he will need to the extra money for occasional visits to the uk to see her oh and expects me to pay half of all flight fees and um fees if she should go over there to visit him, can I add he wants her to go over every half school term, I can't afford all these fees anymore because I have to maintain my child on the little amount of money he gives me.Also he gave me less than 5 minutes to sign an agreement I had not yet read about terms and conditions on me moving here regarding our daughter, I told him the agree doesn't stand in my eyes as I was literally forced to sign it having seconds to get on a boat to move here.So he wrote up a new one and sent me it, which I haven't signed.Can anybody help me please please please
Jedi - 21-Jul-16 @ 12:33 PM
Baba - Your Question:
My daughter lives in Glasgow with her mother and I live in The Netherlands. Her mother is currently hospitalized with mental health issues after trying to overdose. If I take it to court what is my chances of having full custody and bringing my daughter to The Netherlands!? We have only been deprecated a year and I pay full maintenance every month. Just not sure how living abroad comes into the equation however my daughter will be a lot safer here than with her mother.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You don't say who is looking after your daughter while her mother is in hospital, how long she may be in, and how old your daughter is. While you could take the matter to court, a court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child and stability and consistency are high on the list of important factors to consider. This means if your daughter is young and has an established and consistent school/home life regardless of her mother being hospitalised, this will be considered more important than uprooting your daughter from her mother and/or caring relatives or friends to moving her abroad. However, if your daughter is older (over age 11) and dependent upon the closeness of your relationship with her, and the circumstances surrounding her welfare, then her view may be taken into consideration through the courts. You would need to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jul-16 @ 2:24 PM
My daughter lives in Glasgow with her mother and I live in The Netherlands. Her mother is currently hospitalized with mental health issues after trying to overdose. If I take it to court what is my chances of having full custody and bringing my daughter to The Netherlands!? We have only been deprecated a year and I pay full maintenance every month. Just not sure how living abroad comes into the equation however my daughter will be a lot safer here than with her mother.
Baba - 17-Jul-16 @ 8:36 PM
I'm living in Ireland with my son who's father lives in Scotland. We went to court 3 years ago and he was ordered to pay maintenance. He has not given me a penny!! I have a solicitor who says the case has been handed to the Scottish authorities to deal with.. I am getting nowhere with this. Will he get away with never paying maintenance??? He sees his son on holidays and whenever he wants but yet refuses to pay. Please any help welcome I'm starting to give up hope .
Aa - 5-Jul-16 @ 10:47 PM
9654p - Your Question:
Hello. I am currently in a CSA arrangement for my son in the Uk of 16. I plan to move to Spain in September 2016. However I will not be working straight away, nor when I do start work will this be with a UK company. I will only be working part time as a teacher. The pay will be very low and I am concerned as to how things will pan out. I have always done the right thing in the past and wish to continue that. I do not have a great relationship with my sons mother and doubt very much that a mutual agreement could be arranged. What would be my options?

Our Response:
Child maintenance when a non-resident parent moves abroad can be organised via a Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) order here. If you are currently paying through the CSA/CMS then the order will be re-assessed if your earnings drop by more than 25%, please see gov.uk link here . You don't say whether you have access to your child, but if you do and wish to maintain this then negotiation with your ex, mediation or court are the only options open to you. However, this would be better resolved in the UK, as once abroad international court costs etc would apply.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jul-16 @ 12:28 PM
Hello. I am currently in a CSA arrangement for my son in the Uk of 16. I plan to move to Spain in September 2016. However I will not be working straight away, nor when I do start work will this be with a UK company.. I will only be working part time as a teacher. The pay will be very low and I am concerned as to how things will pan out. I have always done the right thing in the past and wish to continue that..I do not have a great relationship with my sons mother and doubt very much that a mutual agreement could be arranged.. What would be my options?
9654p - 4-Jul-16 @ 7:31 PM
Me - Your Question:
Hi wonder if you can help, We have live in Scotland for 7 months with my family, I have a son of 9 years and a daughter of 4 years, ho is born in Norway and has lived in Norway soon all there life., regret that we moved Hir I will return to Norway my husband refuses me to take the children, is there anything I can do to get with my kids whid me hope you can help

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear you are unhappy. However, you cannot take the children back to your home country without your husband's consent as if you do, you may face charges of abduction. Your only option would be to seek legal advice regarding taking the matter to court and the court would decide what it thought was in the best interests of your children.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jun-16 @ 11:09 AM
Hi wonder if you can help, We have livein Scotland for 7 months with my family, I have a son of 9 years and a daughter of 4 years, ho is born in Norway and has lived in Norway soon all there life ., regret that we moved Hir i will return to Norway my husband refuses me to take the children, is there anything I can do to get with my kids whid me hope you can help
Me - 27-Jun-16 @ 1:37 PM
yas - Your Question:
Hi I live with my 2kids in uk and my ex partener is in belgium. I applied for remo childmaintenance since february 2016 until now I didnt receive anything and I dont know what is happen with my process.

Our Response:
You would have to contact the REMO Unit directly regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jun-16 @ 2:08 PM
Hi i live with my 2kids in uk and my ex partener is in belgium. I applied for remo childmaintenance since february 2016 until now i didnt receive anything and i dont know what is happen with my process.
yas - 21-Jun-16 @ 7:19 PM
Klare - Your Question:
Hi there I am a UK resident and have been since birth. I have a 7 year old daughter. My daughters father used to make regular payments to me for child maintenance agreed and arranged by our self's. He moved to Canada 3 years ago and now he has more children has stopped paying anything towards our daughter. How do I go about getting a court to make him pay child maintenance?

Our Response:
You can apply via the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) unit here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jun-16 @ 12:09 PM
Hi there I am a UK resident and have been since birth. I have a 7 year old daughter. My daughters father used to make regular payments to me for child maintenance agreed and arranged by our self's. He moved to Canada 3 years ago and now he has more children has stopped paying anything towards our daughter. How do I go about getting a court to make him pay child maintenance?
Klare - 14-Jun-16 @ 2:48 PM
I'm German but live in UK since 2 years I have a 13 year old son and the dad is German too but how can I get child support of him from here
jasfrank - 10-Jun-16 @ 5:23 PM
Redbullrobin - Your Question:
Hi there :) I am a uk resident and been living in uk since my birth. My 6 year old son was born in uk but the mother who has poland residency and polish passport has lived in poland for last 5 years ( my son also has polish passport and polish residency ) as we split up. Through polish courts I agreed and have been paying child maintenance to her in poland and I have seen my son on regular intervals all has been good. Now she wants to move to crimea which is supposedly part of russia now and it will be extremely difficult for me to make regular trips to crimea with all the un sanctions and I obtaining a special visa to enter country. As originally the polish court maintenance remo order is within the european union but mother taking my son out of european union to a country with un sanctions and outside european union am I still committed to having to pay the polish child maintenance order ??

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice or contact the REMO helpline directly via the link here regarding this, as unfortunately this is beyond our remit to advise.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jun-16 @ 12:53 PM
Hi there :)i am a uk resident and been living in uk since my birth .... My 6 year old son was born in uk but the mother who has poland residency and polish passport has lived in poland for last 5years ( my son also has polish passport and polish residency )as we split up .... Through polish courts i agreed and have been paying child maintenance to her in poland and i have seen my son on regular intervals all has been good ..... Now she wants to move to crimea which is supposedly part of russia now and it will be extremely difficult for me to make regular trips to crimea with all the un sanctions and i obtaining a special visa to enter country ...... As originally the polish court maintenance remo order is within the european union but mother taking my son out of european union to a country with un sanctions and outside european union am i still committed to having to pay the polish child maintenance order ??
Redbullrobin - 8-Jun-16 @ 8:59 PM
Mp - Your Question:
Recieved a remo judgement from Norway regarding twins by an ex girlfriend, When she had them told me if I did'nt want to be involved to just go away and nothing was wanted from me, now have recieved a remo order backdated 14 years at high Norwegian rates based on income well above mine as I am a part time contractor. The demand is for about 80 grand and rising (more money than I have ever had) and judgement will be made in a local court here in the uk next week. Is this a fair demand and how can I have a fair assessment made as the local court can only enforce or reject the Norwegian ruling.

Our Response:
I am afraid I am not versed in Norwegian family law. However, as a rule child maintenance can only be claimed from the date the resident parent first made the claim. If the mother made the claim 14 years ago and you have been untraceable since then, or you have avoided paying, then she may have a case. I can only suggest you seek legal advice, especially if your court case is only a week away. You need to explore all your options here.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jun-16 @ 2:21 PM
Recieved a remo judgement from Norway regarding twins by an ex girlfriend, When she had them told me if i did'nt want to be involved to just go away and nothing was wanted from me, now have recieved a remo order backdated 14 years at high Norwegian rates based on income well above mine as i am a part time contractor. The demand is for about 80 grand and rising (more money than i have ever had) and judgement will be made in a local court here in the uk next week. Is this a fair demand and how can i have a fair assessment made as the local court can only enforce or reject the Norwegian ruling.
Mp - 8-Jun-16 @ 3:47 AM
Sue - Your Question:
Hi, my ex boyfriend have been paying child maintenance through CMS for the last 2 years. My ex left his job 2 months ago and not receiving any benefits, so CMS told me I don't get anything. I recently found out my ex left UK, but don't know which country he's in. I know its very likely he won't be working for a UK registered company. I have no idea which country he's in- he could be working in Dubai, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany and/or Singapore. His friends won't tell me where he is and I can't found where he is on social media. My questions are is there a way I can or REMO or the court can find out where he is so I can apply for a court order through REMO for child maintenance? I have 1 child with ex, so would it still be 12% of his salary if he's working abroad?Unfortunately, CMS told me they can't help as he's not paying any UK tax through HMRC, but told me if he does come back to UK to work, it will automatically start again with CMS, so that's the good news. I just want to know how I can get child maintenance through REMO if I don't know where ex is?

Our Response:
You would have to contact REMO directly to ask this, please see the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jun-16 @ 2:59 PM
Hi, my ex boyfriend have been paying child maintenance through CMS for the last 2 years. My ex left his job 2 months ago and not receiving any benefits, so CMS told me I don't get anything. I recently found out my ex left UK, but don't know which country he's in. I know its very likely he won't be working for a UK registered company. I have no idea which country he's in- he could be working in Dubai, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany and/or Singapore. His friends won't tell me where he is and I can't found where he is on social media. My questions are is there a way I can or REMO or the court can find out where he is so I can apply for a court order through REMO for child maintenance? I have 1 child with ex, so would it still be 12% of his salary if he's working abroad? Unfortunately, CMS told me they can't help as he's not paying any UK tax through HMRC, but told me if he does come back to UK to work, it will automatically start again with CMS, so that's the good news. I just want to know how I can get child maintenance through REMO if I don't know where ex is?
Sue - 6-Jun-16 @ 11:50 PM
Jonboy - Your Question:
I have a 10 year old daughter to my ex wife who is Thai.There is a court order in place for access to my daughter.I have a maintenance agreement set via CMO which I pay regular.The court order states that each parent can take the child on holiday for a period up to 3 weeks but must give other parent details of holiday before travel.Later this year,my ex wife will take my daughter on holiday for 2 weeks to Thailand.My concerns are she may not return,obviously this would be abduction.I have a couple of questions in regards to the above1.If this did happen.what actions would I have to take and who would I contact ?2. I am within my rights to cease the maintenance payments until the child returned to the UK ?

Our Response:
Maintenance cannot be used as a tool and you are legally obliged to continue paying this via the CMS. If you are concerned that your ex will not return you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order which you could apply to stop the journey altogether or a Specific Issue Order which would put conditions on the journey i.e that your ex has to return. However, according to gov.uk while Thailand has signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction but the UK has not yet been able to enter into treaty relations with Thailand. This means the Convention does not operate between the two countries, please see link here. Therefore, I suggest you take some legal advice to ensure you are properly aware of all your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-May-16 @ 10:58 AM
I have a 10 year old daughter to my ex wife who is Thai.There is a court order in place for access to my daughter.I have a maintenance agreement set via CMO which I pay regular. The court order states that each parent can take the child on holiday for a period up to 3 weeks but must give other parent details of holiday before travel. Later this year,my ex wife will take my daughter on holiday for 2 weeks to Thailand.My concerns are she may not return,obviously this would be abduction. I have a couple of questions in regards to the above 1.If this did happen.what actions would I have to take and who would I contact ? 2. I am within my rights to cease the maintenance payments until the child returned to the UK ?
Jonboy - 26-May-16 @ 1:00 PM
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