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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 May 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]
I need advice.we are refugees in Irland. I applied for volunteer return for me and my youngest son. My other son does not want to return with me and want to stay behind with his father.
wendy - 20-May-16 @ 4:24 PM
V - Your Question:
My ex has moved out of uk so the CMS can no longer deal with child maintenece payments. He earns extremely well and keeps a rented property and cars here in the uk. I have a court order for child maintenance however he is trying to reduce the amount by saying he needs help with his travel to see his children.I believe that as it was his decision to move away then the children's maintenance should not be reduced to cover his bills, rent on the property in uk and travel from the country he now lives in.Please advise Many thanks

Our Response:
Non resident parents are allowed to apply for a variation of expenses if they have to travel to see their children, please see link here from the CAB. However, there are requirements that he would need to fulfil in order to be able to apply.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-16 @ 2:54 PM
My ex has moved out of uk so the CMS can no longer deal with child maintenece payments.He earns extremely well and keeps a rented property and cars here in the uk.I have a court order for child maintenance however he is trying to reduce the amount by saying he needs help with his travel to see his children. I believe that as it was his decision to move away then the children's maintenance should not be reduced to cover his bills, rent on the property in uk and travel from the country he now lives in. Please advise Many thanks
V - 19-May-16 @ 9:24 AM
Elle - Your Question:
Hi,I recently moved abroad and I have two years old daughter with British citizen. We had quite rought split up and he refuses my daughter to come and live with me or even visit now. He made arrangement with his solicitor where he stated she will come and visit me regularly and now he refuses and I haven't seen my daughter almost two moths now. I work too and sometimes whole week I'm a row and I expected him to bring her to me as he promised. She has been visit me twice for two weeks and I have always brought her back to him to uk and etc , I wrote arrangement to him where he would see her regularly and etc but he is going crazy now by blackmailing me for few months now and I don't believe she can't see her mother just because she's born in Uk. He doesn't even want to FaceTime or send me pictures of her and he simply does not care like he says. Is that allowed ? I'm running out of questions and answers. She have never been in danger with me or not being cared properly. He is doing that simply because I left him and I have tried to compromise with him of best interests of my daughter

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this and this is becoming a more frequent problem where international relations are concerned. For you to have taken your daughter home with you, you would have needed your ex's consent, which leaves you in a difficult position of whether to stay in the UK or go home without your child. As you have chosen the latter, your only option is to seek legal advice regarding taking the matter to court. However, this will cost as international law does. Unless your access agreement with your ex took the form of a British court order, then there is little you can do to have this agreement enforced. Therefore, it means you starting from the beginning through the courts in order to regain access to your child. Had you have taken the matter to court before you decided to move, then you would be in a lot stronger position than you are now. I'm sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news, but legal advice is needed here as soon as possible in order to find out your options and rights.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-May-16 @ 12:31 PM
Hi, I recently moved abroad and I have two years old daughter with British citizen . We had quite rought split up and he refuses my daughter to come and live with me or even visit now . He made arrangement with his solicitor where he stated she will come and visit me regularly and now he refuses and I haven't seen my daughter almost two moths now . I work too and sometimes whole week I'm a row and I expected him to bring her to me as he promised. She has been visit me twice for two weeks and I have always brought her back to him to uk and etc , I wrote arrangement to him where he would see her regularly and etc but he is going crazy now by blackmailing me for few months now and I don't believe she can't see her mother just because she's born in Uk . He doesn't even want to FaceTime or send me pictures of her and he simply does not care like he says . Is that allowed ? I'm running out of questions and answers . She have never been in danger with me or not being cared properly. He is doing that simply because I left him and I have tried to compromise with him of best interests of my daughter
Elle - 16-May-16 @ 2:37 PM
Kika - Your Question:
Hi I'm mother currently living in UK with twin boys. Ex is paying child maintenance thru CSA. What happens if I move back home to Latvia ? Ex is living and working in UK.

Our Response:
Latvia is part of Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders REMO, see link here. In addition, if your ex has parental responsibility you would need to ask for his consent to leave the country with your children as you may be charged with abduction if you don't.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-May-16 @ 1:00 PM
Hi I'm mother currently living in UK with twin boys. Ex is paying child maintenance thru CSA . What happens if I move back home to Latvia? Ex is living and working in UK.
Kika - 15-May-16 @ 8:37 PM
My husband was divorced in 2008. They are both UK citizen but residing in Singapore before the divorce. Ex wife went bank to the Uk when they got separated and filed the divorced in the UK and my husband remains in Singapore. She did all the processing which is all in favor to her. My husband didnt hire a lawyer at that time. They had one child staying with the mother. She gave him the proposed agreement in which he didnt even care to understand. And when he finally realized it, its too late coz its ridicously big amount.The amount stated on the divorce paper is $6,000 to pay monthly and he cant possibly sustain that since his income per month is around 7 to 10k. He didnt know how the ex wife came up with that amount. So he talked to herand agreed on child maintenance thru a private agreement.They agreed to reduce the payment to $3900 per month. They just agreed among themselves what the child maintenance amount would be. They did not include the court or CMS or the CSA. Which works out okay for both parties for quite some time however, after 8 years of paying so much my husband's circumstances have changed and he can no longer sustain that amount and propose to reduce it based on his income. But this time he and his ex are not in agreement.My question is, first of all, is thefamily-based arrangement of $6000 per month legally binding in a year 2008?My goal is to adjust the maintenance amount and achieve fairness for my husband based on his changed circumstances but quite difficult at the moment because we're in Singapore and ex wife is in UK. Please advice what to do. Thank you
Mai - 6-May-16 @ 4:04 AM
London - Your Question:
I am the resident parent and several years ago a ontact order was made setting out regular contact for my ex-husband to see our daughter. A few months ago he moved abroad, and although he has had some contact with our daughter, has not kept to the frequency set out in the order, despite assurances he would. What are my legal options?

Our Response:
If your ex-husband has moved abroad then this means the order may change because of the logistics of the move. The fact he has moved abroad complicates issues. While you or he could take the matter back to court for a variation, the courts will obviously take into consideration that he may not be able to adhere to the order as it stands and may relax the contact order, which I assume is not quite what you want.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-16 @ 10:50 AM
I am the resident parent and several years ago a ontact order was made setting out regular contact for my ex-husband to see our daughter. A few months ago he moved abroad, and although he has had some contact with our daughter, has not kept to the frequency set out in the order, despite assurances he would. What are my legal options?
London - 3-May-16 @ 1:02 PM
marty - Your Question:
Hi,my daughter and her husband have recently split up. they have shared care, and m daughter as she is in work pays the bills and the mortgage. she signed her child maintenance over to her husband to give him more more money to support the child ( who is 4 ).she has just received a letter from the csa I thought if you have shared care you don't have to pay maintenance for the child especially as she has the child an equal amount of time.please could you advise me on what she should do next ?

Our Response:
If the CMS believe you share care equally, they won’t do a maintenance calculation, please see CAB link here for more information.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Apr-16 @ 1:49 PM
hi, my daughter and her husband have recently split up. they have shared care, and m daughter as she is in work pays the bills and the mortgage. she signed her child maintenance over to her husband to give him more more money to support the child ( who is 4 ) .she has just received a letter from the csa I thought if you have shared care you don't have to pay maintenance for the child especially as she has the child an equal amount of time .please could you advise me on what she should do next ?.
marty - 20-Apr-16 @ 7:01 PM
Pipsqueak - Your Question:
After returning from Spain 5 years ago I visit my young daughter as often as I financially can, but with unemployment and a new job on less money than my previous I am finding it increasingly difficult to see her as I have no spare income ( and huge monthly credit card bills on 3 maxed out credit cards what I have used to pay for flights and hotels etc).is there any way I can get help to travel to see her or legally ask for part help off my ex wife to pay for my travel.I have never asked or recieved any help before but after over 40 trips to see her I have no idea when I will be able to see her again through my financial difficulty.many thanks.p

Our Response:
This is a bit of a tricky one to answer as firstly, I assume it was your choice to move back to the UK, therefore it is unlikely you would legally be able to gain any financial help from your ex. Also, taking the matter to court would cost as it would be an inetrnational issue. If you pay child support through a UK agency, you may be able to request a 'special expenses variation. However, if it is family-based then this would not apply and would have to be negotiated with your ex. Your only other recourse is to ask your ex personally, but if she did not agree then unfortunately there is little you can do here. Until you get on your feet, I can only suggest asking family to help (if they can). Booking ahead on offers to get the cheapest flights possible and staying in the likes of advertised spare rooms to let, rather than hotels will cut down costs. Getting to Spain can be done on a budget, but for now you may have to plan and think outside the box. I hope you manage to sort the issue out.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Apr-16 @ 10:26 AM
Hello ..I have been paying maintenance to my ex partner who lives in the uk..I am resident in the uae this was not agreed through written or csa but mutual. She now says she wants more money and is looking at getting a court order. How does this work ?I'm resident in the uae so I belive the csa or remo have no authority here. How will the court decide on how much money I pay if they don't know my income ?How will this be enforced ? I have a house but worried she might even try to possess that please can anyone give any clarification on this.
Mickey - 20-Apr-16 @ 8:41 AM
After returning from Spain 5 years ago I visit my young daughter as often as I financially can, but with unemployment and a new job on less money than my previous I am finding it increasingly difficult to see her as I have no spare income ( and huge monthly credit card billson 3 maxed out credit cards what I have used to pay for flights and hotels etc) ..is there any way I can get help to travel to see her or legally ask for part help off my ex wife to pay for my travel ..I have never asked or recieved any help before but after over 40 trips to see her I have no idea when I will be able to see her again through my financial difficulty..many thanks .p
Pipsqueak - 19-Apr-16 @ 2:11 AM
i live in he uk and my ex and daughter live in tennerife. how do i go about a conact order?? can i make the order in a uk courtand bring her back???
wilz - 15-Apr-16 @ 6:39 PM
Ali - Your Question:
Hello. My husband (thai) want to move his child (thai) to Sweden, where we live. The childs mother is thai but she will immigrate to Canada soon. Now she is in Thailand but my husband is in Sweden. The mother agree that the child (10 years) will move to Sweden and live with his dad. They were never married but the fathers name is on the birth certificate. What do we need to do to get the child to Sweden? Does both parents have to give their consent to let the child make a passport? Does both parents need to give consent to give full custody to the dad? I understand there is a for that they need to sign, but do they need to do it in person or can it be done from Sweden? We are in a bit of a hurry because the mother is leaving Thailand soon. Best regards ALEA

Our Response:
I'm afraid as we are a UK-based site we can only advise on UK-based immigration and family law.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Apr-16 @ 11:55 AM
I want to go back home to Canada with my children and potentially remarry in the next year.The father of the kids will not let me go with the kids. Of course all is well for him because he has had it easy - coming an hour here and there to see the kids when he has time. Never do they stay at his place.Now he is going mad and says over his dead body I can take the kids to Canada.Is there anything I could do other than expensive courts as money is tight. Could I even leave and set up home in Canada while fighting for the kids and then he realises he can't take care of them on z daily basis? Or are we all stuck in UK for what could be years of court battle?
snm - 14-Apr-16 @ 9:51 PM
Hello. My husband (thai) want to move his child (thai) to Sweden, where we live. The childs mother is thai but she will immigrate to Canada soon. Now she is in Thailand but my husband is in Sweden. The mother agree that the child (10 years) will move to Sweden and live with his dad. They were never married but the fathers name is on the birth certificate. What do we need to do to get the child to Sweden? Does both parents have to give their consent to let the child make a passport? Does both parents need to give consent to give full custody to the dad? I understand there is a for that they need to sign, but do they need to do it in person or can it be done from Sweden? We are in a bit of a hurry because the mother is leaving Thailand soon. Best regards ALEA
Ali - 14-Apr-16 @ 12:55 PM
Rich - Your Question:
I am moving abroad and its within the EU, I have a consent order that was agreed 15 months ago, I am looking for work why out there do the csa or court need to be notified if so how do the calculations work or do I have to pay the agreed amount in order ?

Our Response:
If your income will change then you need to notify the CSA of your change in circumstances if there is an increase or decrease of 25% or more in the paying parent’s gross weekly income - please see link here for more information.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Apr-16 @ 11:19 AM
I am moving abroad and its within the EU, i have a consent order that was agreed 15 months ago, i am looking for work why out there do the csa or court need to be notified if so how do the calculations work or do i have to pay the agreed amount in order ?
Rich - 13-Apr-16 @ 11:32 AM
I would like information regarding our situation.My husband has a child from a previous marriage and he is now nearly 18 years of age.For many years my husband and I paid huge sums of marital debt accrued largely by his ex wife in addition to heavy maintenance payments paid to her.She did not take any of this debt and has continued to harass my husband and I for years.We now have 3 children of our own and have emigrated to Australia however now pay through the Australian CSA until the year after his son's 18th birthday.Following this the Australian CSA have no jurisdiction therefore given the huge debts my husband and I have had to pay and the constant abuse we receive regularly from his ex wife and her son we will cease payments then.I have since discovered however that under Scots Law the child can pursue legal action through the courts to claim more money from us until up to age 25!To date we have paid in excess of almost 90K pounds because of this and I would like to know if the courts in Scotland can enforce a parent living abroad to pay for a child aged over 18 until he is 25!Understandably we are worried as his ex has stressed her sense of entitlement onto her son but I'd appreciate any information regarding court jurisdiction abroad.Thanks in advance.
Jackie O - 31-Mar-16 @ 8:06 AM
Hi! I would be very grateful for your advice. We seem to be going around in circles. We want to upwardly modify / request more money to an existing child support order (there has been significant changes in circumstances by both parties). My daughter and I are now UK residents. The order was made in New York, America. The non-resident parent now lives in Miami, America. The New York court says they no longer have jurisdiction. Apparently REMO only deals with enforcement or establishing a new case. Where does that leave us? Should we start a new case in the UK, even though there is an existing American order?
Katherine - 18-Mar-16 @ 4:55 PM
Rob - Your Question:
Hello! Thanks for your help and speedy answer. Just to confirm that the the child maintenence is not organised through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit,but directly from the their country of residence trough court hearing without my knowledge and presence. So that is the reason why I am confused myself, how can the court decide in their fewer without any documents or proofs ( or might be a false documents supplied). Because so far I haven't missed any payment in regards to arrangement for child mentainence. Therefore my question was who do I need to contact in uk to validate my documents and send them to their court. And in terms of " everyone knows my private life " if I attend court hearings in their country of residence the information it will be supplied there and then in front of everybody (with my ex- partner present )and she would know what is my reason of unemployment. That is how the courts are working over there. But also at present time I am not in the position to travel and attend court hearing, thus I am asking for help how I can sort this problem from uk? Many thanks. Rob

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear you are having to go through this, I can only suggest you take some legal advice from an international solicitor regarding the best approach. You may also wish to ask Just Ask, link here which has professional lawyers that can help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Mar-16 @ 12:51 PM
Hello! Thanks for your help and speedy answer. Just to confirm that the the child maintenence is not organised through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit,but directly from the their country of residence trough court hearing without my knowledge and presence. So that is the reason why I am confused myself, how can the court decide in their fewer without any documents or proofs ( or might be a false documents supplied). Because so far I haven't missed any payment in regards to arrangement for child mentainence. Therefore my question was who do I need to contact in uk to validate my documents and send them to their court. And in terms of " everyone knows my private life " if I attend court hearings in their country of residence the information it will be supplied there and then in front of everybody (with my ex- partner present )and she would know what is my reason of unemployment. That is how the courts are working over there. But also at present time I am not in the position to travel and attend court hearing, thus I am asking for help how i can sort this problem from uk? Many thanks. Rob
Rob - 17-Mar-16 @ 1:30 AM
Rob - Your Question:
I need help any advice offered will very much appreciated. I am the father of non-European child who lived with his mother( ex- partner) outside of UK. The marriage and also the divorce was outside of UK few years ago and child maintenance courts agreement was maid in that country. Now I am living in UK remarried and have 7 mouth old baby. My ex partner again through court proceedings is asking for more CM money for my child that has been agreed without my knowledge. I revived court letter from that country stating that I am employed with very high salary, and I have to pay very high CM. But at present I am in a very difficult situation as my wife has a very serious post-delivery complication and is permanently disabled, I am unemployed looking after my wife and my baby. My question is how I can obtain unemployed letter from uk to show it to non- eu court without disclosing my wife disabilities as it is very small town and we don't want everyone to know about our private life( and especially my ex-partner)Can I show all my documents here to uk and can someone certify and write letter to them? Many thanks.Rob

Our Response:
I'm not sure whether I understand your question as there is no reason why 'everyone' should know about your private life. I assume the child maintenence is organised through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit, in which case there is no reason why this agency should divulge any of your details. However, what is apparent is that if you are no longer working, then you must sort this issue out before your finances are also compromised. You should contact the relevant agency, or court and ask what evidence would be needed, and the agency would re-calculate the commitment and contact your ex supplying only the minimum of detail.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-16 @ 1:57 PM
I need help any advice offered will very much appreciated. I am the father of non-European child who lived with his mother( ex- partner) outside of UK. The marriage and also the divorce was outside of UK few years ago and child maintenance courts agreement was maid in that country. Now I am living in UK remarried and have 7 mouth old baby. My ex partner again through court proceedings is asking for more CM money for my child that has been agreed without my knowledge. I revivedcourt letter from that country stating that i am employed with very high salary, and I have to pay very high CM. But at present I am in a very difficult situation as my wife has a very serious post-delivery complication and is permanently disabled, I am unemployed looking after my wife and my baby. My question is how I can obtain unemployed letter from uk to show it to non- eu court without disclosing my wife disabilities as it is very small town and we don't want everyone to know about our private life( and especially my ex-partner)Can I show all my documents here to uk and can someone certify and write letter to them? Many thanks.Rob
Rob - 16-Mar-16 @ 3:04 AM
felicity - Your Question:
Hello, My former partner and I have 2 young children aged 3 and 2. we are not married but his name is on the birth certificate. He gave notice to our landlord and our lease ended last week. We did not have a new flat to move to. I currently don't have any income since the birth of the children and he has never contributed to our maintainance except to pay the rent. He slso declined to help pay for childcare so that I could go back to work. On top of that he consumes marijuana on a daily basis and has been verbally abusive towards me. I have never reported this to the police. I have now sought shelter with my siblings in germany ( the children and I are german citizens, my ex is african with a permanent residence in uk). What do I do to be able to stay longer in Germany with the kids to find my feet again? Can my ex apply for sole custody in my absence?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, one of the main issues to be concerned about is abduction. Regardless of your ex's actions, if a parent shares parental responsibility then the other parent is 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 can be classed as abduction, even if the child is travelling with the ‘with care’ parent. If you wish to take your child abroad, either for a holiday or to live abroad, you should keep the other parent informed. It is far better to work with the courts than against them. If your aim is to move permanently with your children to Germany and your ex partner does not agree with the move, then you must prove to a court that you have a reasonable and realistic plan which has the best interests of your children's welfare at heart. Obviously, by moving abroad contact with your childrens' father will be limited, and the courts will take this into consideration.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Feb-16 @ 11:34 AM
Hello, My former partner and I have 2 young children aged 3 and 2. we are not married but his name is on the birth certificate. He gave notice to our landlord and our lease ended last week. We did not have a new flat to move to. I currently don't have any income since the birth of the children and he has never contributed to our maintainance except to pay the rent. He slso declined to help pay for childcare so that I could go back to work. On top of that he consumes marijuana on a daily basis and has been verbally abusive towards me. I have never reported this to the police. I have now sought shelter with my siblings in germany ( the children and I are german citizens, my ex is african with a permanent residence in uk). What do I do to be able to stay longer in Germany with the kids to find my feet again? Can my ex apply for sole custody in my absence?
felicity - 25-Feb-16 @ 10:53 AM
NM - Your Question:
Hi. I gave consent for my ex to take my child to NZ as I believed it would be in the best interest of my child. He stated before he left that as he was taking her away from us, I am in UK he would not expect child maintenance. I said I wanted to support my child and would pay towards her keep. To see my daughter I also have the expense now of a very expensive accompanied flight to bring her home once a year. I said I would pay half towards the fare and my ex agreed he would also contribute half. This was an agreement before we allowed her to leave. Now she is there he is saying he will not pay half. Am I obligated to pay child maintenance as he left the country to live in NZ with my daughter who I now never see and how do I base any payments I choose to give taking into account the cost of a very expensive accompanied flight. Is there anywhere I can seek advise to ensure I meet my obligations and he meets his. Am I even obligated to pay child maintenance as he left the country with my child?Thanks.

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your ex left the country with your child, you are still responsible for child maintenance, either a family-based one or via a child support agency if your ex requests it. Did you get anything in writing regarding your agreement before he left, as this is always a good idea should agreements be reneged upon? You could give the CMS a call via the link here. The CMS is a free service that provides impartial information and support to help separated parents make decisions about their child maintenance arrangements.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-16 @ 1:44 PM
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