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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 Sep 2018 |
 
Moving Abroad, The Issues

If you’re thinking of moving abroad with your child, there are many issues to consider. One of the main issues is that of abduction. If a parent shares parental responsibility, they are not allowed to take the child abroad for more than a month except for two situations: firstly, if the non resident parent consents or secondly if they have sought and obtained permission from the court.

Without this permission, taking a child abroad is abduction, even if the child is travelling with the ‘with care’ parent.

Going to Court

If there is a requirement to go to court to seek permission to go abroad, the court will consider a number of elements: the welfare and best interests of the child (in particular, if the parent wishes to take the child abroad for a better life); whether or not the proposed move is an attempt by the parent with care to stop the child seeing the non-resident parent; any harm that may come to the child; the capability of each parent; and the child’s wishes.

Jurisdiction of the CSA

The Child Support Agency only has jurisdiction in the UK, in other words England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, it does not include the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. If one or more parties live abroad, the CSA is unable to give a calculation of the amount of maintenance a non-resident parent should pay. If either parent or the child is not resident in the UK, the court does have the power to make and vary a maintenance order.

Non-Resident Parent Abroad

If the non-resident parent is working for the UK civil service abroad, is in the armed forces, for a UK governmental organisation or is working for a UK company abroad (and is paid from a UK payroll) then the CSA will still be able to collect money from them. In all other cases if the non-resident parent is abroad the parent with care can go to court in the UK to apply for child support.

There are procedures in place that are designed to assist parents with care in the UK collect money from non-resident parents abroad, in particular REMO (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders). REMO will assist UK residents by enforcing maintenance orders abroad to collect money from non-resident parents. It must be stressed however that the UK cannot compel or order foreign jurisdictions to act in a certain way or within a certain timescale. In addition, not all countries in the world participate in REMO.

If a parent with care who is in the UK wishes to apply for maintenance from a person who is not living in the UK, they do not need to employ the services of a solicitor. All that is required is that they attend their local magistrates court. If there is an existing order, they make an application to have that order enforced in the country where the non-resident parent lives and if there is no order they can ask child support authorities in the foreign country to make a maintenance order for them.

Non Resident Parent living in the UK

The REMO (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders) agreement with participating countries works both ways. This means that if a parent with care and the child both live abroad, they can apply for a foreign maintenance order which will be enforceable against the non-resident parent who is living in the UK.

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Hi there, My ex-wife moved to Portugal with my son and I have to incur travelling costs such as flights, hotels, car rentals and train tickets to and from the airport. Each time I travel it costs me in the region of £500 minimum. My wife expects me to pay half of all the expenses relating to my son which sounds fair, but surely the fact that I am incurring costs should be factored in? My ex-wife travels to the UK on occasion but not as much as me. What is the precedent here and does it hold weight in EU law? Is there a specific section in law that I can quote?
Ash L - 19-Sep-18 @ 2:50 AM
Justquerying - Your Question:
My ex took me to court 13 years ago for joint custody, he dropped the case (due to the level of domestic violence he put us through) and I got sole custody. In our divorce he signed, under the special childs arrangement, that the kids will live just with me and he will never have anything to do with him. We have not seen him in 13 years. Do we need his permission to move abroad?

Our Response:
Yes, you would still require permission from the courts to move abroad. However, due to the fact your children's father has not seen his children in many years then it is highly likely you would be given permission.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Sep-18 @ 1:38 PM
My ex took me to court 13 years ago for joint custody, he dropped the case (due to the level of domestic violence he put us through) and I got sole custody. In our divorce he signed, under the special childs arrangement, that the kids will live just with me and he will never have anything to do with him. We have not seen him in 13 years. Do we need his permission to move abroad?
Justquerying - 11-Sep-18 @ 8:23 PM
I currently pay Child Support to my ex for my two children with her. My wife and I may need to move overseas for work and want to continue to pay support and have the children come and visit. Would the amount be calculated based on my income in $ then converted to £ on the current exchange rate. I want to be open and transparent and ensure that the correct amount is sent each month.
Md77 - 10-Sep-18 @ 8:58 AM
If I was to move abroad would my daughters Dad still have to pay maintenance? And would it still be the same amount?
Kate - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:03 AM
Hi, i have had personal agreement with my Ex wife since my daughter was 1 and never missed a payment. For the last 2 years they have lived in Portugal(age 16-18) now my daughter has reach her 18th birthday i've stopped payments to a barrage of text messages sayong i have to pay till my daughter is 19 , without any proof of the home study course's she says shes on. Where do i stand on this please ? Thanks
Dave - 28-Aug-18 @ 10:57 AM
My ex partner lives in New Zealand. he owes £15000 in UK Child Support. He lft to avoid paying it. It is owed from the year 2000. How can I obtain this? My children are now over 18 but this was money they should have had the benefit of growing up. Is there any way these arrears can be recovered?
JAY - 22-Aug-18 @ 11:18 AM
@Bella- it's definitely more difficult if your ex is in a non-remo country as you'd probably have to use an international family law solicitor to push it forward to court. But it would cost you to push it and there is no guarantee you'd get the child maintenance. M
MattH - 17-Aug-18 @ 9:59 AM
Hi My ex husband lives in Dubai he was born in UK . We have two children who he refuses to pay any child support to. Due to Dubai not being in the REMO countries he said he doesn’t have to. Is this correct or is there away I can claim some support from him, I’m currently working to try and support our boys Thanks in advance
Bella - 3-Aug-18 @ 8:54 PM
@Nessa - it's difficult if your ex is retired. If he's not earning an income as such, then they will not be able to force him to pay a lump sum. You could only take it to court to enforce the £10 per week.
TMac - 18-May-18 @ 10:26 AM
Hi. My ex husband is retired & lives in France . He’s in receipt of state and occupational pensions. The CSA took the case to court many years ago and made a compulsory order against him to pay £10 a week back of the £16500 he owed in unpaid maintenance. recently received a letter saying the case is being handed to the new agency but that he still owes over £15k in maintenance arrears . They said I can write it off by writing to them but I have no intention of doing so. My children are now adults but they missed out on so much because he evaded paying maintenance.The CSA took the sum to court and had it proven and had to threatenedhim with loss of passport, driving licence, prison sentence etc . They got his agreement to pay back at £10 a week. For the last few years he’s only paid £5 a week. I am now moving to France myself later this year. Does this mean he will no longer have to pay maintenance or as strictly speaking it’s for the children can this not be paid directly to them now they are adults - they are both resident in the UK. Is there any way I can get him to continue to pay or force payment of the whole debt in full. Nessa
Nessa - 17-May-18 @ 9:49 AM
me and my partner have 2 children togeth both under 2. If we break up which is looking likely, what are my rights as a father? she is from RO.Ireland and fear if we split she may want to move back to ROI with the children which I do no want
J93 - 12-May-18 @ 5:56 PM
Kat - Your Question:
I have a child maintenance case set up where I receive money for my son via collect and pay.I've just heard that my son's father is planning on moving to France (I live in the UK)Will he still be made to pay me CMS whether he works for a UK based company there or not?

Our Response:
Payments should continue, CMS will tell you more. As a general rule, the REMO unit would be able to help where CMS cannot, please see link here . It makes no difference whether he works for a UK-based company or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Apr-18 @ 12:22 PM
I have a child maintenance case set up where I receive money for my son via collect and pay. I've just heard that my son's father is planning on moving to France (I live in the UK) Will he still be made to pay me CMS whether he works for a UK based company there or not?
Kat - 23-Apr-18 @ 8:39 PM
Ol - Your Question:
Hi. I am citizen of Latvia. I never lived in uk. I live in Ireland-(not uk part). I have child who was born in Latvia. I never included fathers Name on Birth Certificate, as he never belived is his child. He lives in UK, but I dont know address. How can I inforce him to pay child maintenance and would it be calculated based on his uk income or based on % of Latvian minimum wage?

Our Response:
You would have to contact CMS directly, as CMS can help trace him if you have some details. Child maintenance would be based on the percentage of his income in pound sterling.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Apr-18 @ 9:30 AM
Jennye - Your Question:
Hi,My husband has a 15yo daughter who has been taken to live in the UK. They were supposed to move home to Australia but the mother has now applied for permanent residency and they are staying in the UK. We pay a negotiated amount of Child Support. We would like to keep the child support each month to put it toward our travel expenses to visit the daughter. Is this legal? Do we legally have to pay child support for a child with who is an Australian citizen but is a permanent UK resident?

Our Response:
By law, the other parent still has to pay towards the day-to-day upkeep of their child, regardless of where their child lives. Or even (if they live in the same country) whether they see their child or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Apr-18 @ 3:44 PM
Hi. I am citizen of Latvia. I never lived in uk. I live in Ireland-(not uk part). I have child whowas born in Latvia. I never included fathers Name on Birth Certificate, as he never belived is his child. He lives in UK, but I dont know address. How can I inforce him to pay child maintenance and would it be calculated based on his uk income or based on % of Latvian minimum wage?
Ol - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:25 PM
Hi, My husband has a 15yo daughter who has been taken to live in the UK. They were supposed to move home to Australia but the mother has now applied for permanent residency and they are staying in the UK. We pay a negotiated amount of Child Support. We would like to keep the child support each month to put it toward our travel expenses to visit the daughter. Is this legal? Do we legally have to pay child support for a child with who is an Australian citizen but is a permanent UK resident?
Jennye - 7-Apr-18 @ 4:34 AM
My ex partner moved abroad with my son and I set up payment and have done so ever since they left and more besides.Can I recover the expense of going to see him ie flights and accommodation as she won't bring him here to see me. In fact she came over on holiday with her family and didn't tell me so I could not see him. It costs a lot of money to keep going over and I just can't afford to do it anymore. Look forward to hearing from you. Kind Regards Stephen
Steve - 31-Mar-18 @ 11:55 AM
dee - Your Question:
I was married to British but Im not British.Our child is dual nationality.After a divorce in the uk ,the court made the maintenance order, I left the uk with my child.my ex stopped paying maintenance 3 years ago and apparently lives on benefits for 3 years now.Likely he does illegal work.He is coming to court every 6months but the court reduced the maintenence to nil coz he has no means.I live in EU country.Not getting any benefits nor money from CSA in any of 2 countries.the goverement of my country posted a letter to CHB office asking for coordination of benefits but UK benefits office said neither me nor my ex who is British is on right for family benefits for our child from the UK,My child is abandoned by her father and the goverments of 2 countries.Noone wants to take responsibility.I do work full time but its not enough.Is there any solution in my case or my child will never get and support from anywhere?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, unless your ex is earning and paying tax through HMRC, then he will not be eligible to pay child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Mar-18 @ 9:58 AM
I was married to British but Im not British.Our child is dual nationality.After a divorce in the uk ,the court made the maintenance order, I left the uk with my child.my ex stopped paying maintenance 3 years ago and apparently lives on benefits for 3 years now.Likely he does illegal work.He is coming to court every 6months but the court reduced the maintenence to nil coz he has no means.I live in EU country.Not getting any benefits nor money from CSA in any of 2 countries.the goverement of my country posted a letter to CHB office asking for coordination of benefits but UK benefits office said neither me nor my ex who is British is on right for family benefits for our child from the UK,My child is abandoned by her father and the goverments of 2 countries.Noone wants to take responsibility.I do work full time but its not enough.Is there any solution in my case or my child will never get and support from anywhere?
dee - 28-Mar-18 @ 3:37 PM
Jimmy - Your Question:
I am hoping to move to a different part of the UK with my son to start a life with my new partner. My ex sees our son 3 x days per week at present which would be less if I moved away. It's 100 miles away from our current location. I will never restrict access to his son and would never want to but he's instructed a solicitor to act as he wants to stop me moving away. Will he be able to stop me moving to a different city ?

Our Response:
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. A court will not stop a person from moving on, and will be more open to the idea if you are prepared to continue to allow access. However, it is impossible to predict what a court may decide.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:21 PM
I am hoping to move to a different part of the UK with my son to start a life with my new partner. My ex sees our son 3 x days per week at present which would be less if I moved away. It's 100 miles away from our current location. I will never restrict access to his son and would never want to but he's instructed a solicitor to act as he wants to stop me moving away. Will he be able to stop me moving to a different city ?
Jimmy - 12-Mar-18 @ 9:52 PM
Dove1 - Your Question:
Hi. I am considering no I g to Republic of Ireland with my 2 daughters and my partner. My partner was born there. One of my daughters has a different Dad who lives where we are in England. What are my rights please? Moving due to work. Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad. Please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:06 AM
Hi. I am considering no I g to Republic of Ireland with my 2 daughters and my partner. My partner was born there. One of my daughters has a different Dad who lives where we are in England. What are my rights please? Moving due to work. Thanks in advance
Dove1 - 19-Feb-18 @ 5:45 PM
Hi, I’m relocating to New Zealand and currently pay a set amount of £250 a month to my ex for our child. We have mutually agreed this and are both happy with this and don’t go through CSA.If I move abroad and don’t have a job at first do I still have to pay? Also with international bank transfer fees I am entitled to drop the payments a bit?
Azza - 14-Feb-18 @ 3:24 PM
Coolcol - Your Question:
I've had the court set a maintenance amount for my 3 overseas children, along with the CSA calculation for my youngest here in the UK I physically can't afford to pay £1000 + a month! Shouldn't 3+ children mean I pay 1 sum and its shared? I'm drowning here!!

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon your earnings. Therefore, as a rule, if you are paying the basic rate for one child, you would pay 12% of your gross weekly income, two children, 16% of your gross weekly income and if you are paying for three or more children, you’ll pay 19% of your gross weekly income. Please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Feb-18 @ 11:16 AM
I've had the court set a maintenance amount for my 3 overseas children, along with the CSA calculation for my youngest here in the UK I physically can't afford to pay £1000 + a month! Shouldn't 3+ children mean I pay 1 sum and its shared? I'm drowning here!!
Coolcol - 12-Feb-18 @ 8:21 PM
H - Your Question:
If I move overseas does my ex still have to pay child maintenance? he says he does not have to legally pay anything as I will not be living in the UK therefore I do not have case.

Our Response:
Much depends upon where you are moving to. The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally has a list of countries where orders are enforceable, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-18 @ 2:46 PM
If i move overseas does my ex still have to pay child maintenance? he says he does not have to legally pay anything as i will not be living in the UK therefore i do not have case.
H - 7-Feb-18 @ 10:56 PM
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