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Moving Abroad, The Issues

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 2 Feb 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]
palf - Your Question:
My husband and I are emigrating to Australia and my step son who will be 16 has expressed he would like to come with us after his GCSE's. His mother is opposing this, where do we stand legally? Does he have a right to choose where he lives with at 16?

Our Response:
Parental responsibility ends when a young person reaches adulthood, at the age of 18. It means your husband would have to apply through the courts if his ex will not give permission and the courts will assess whether it thinks it is in his son's best interests to move or not. Both your husband and his ex will argue their cases for and against the move.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Feb-16 @ 1:54 PM
My husband and I are emigrating to Australia and my step son who will be 16 has expressed he would like to come with us after his GCSE's. His mother is opposing this, where do we stand legally? Does he have a right to choose where he lives with at 16?
palf - 2-Feb-16 @ 9:07 AM
Lou - Your Question:
Hi, I have moved abroad after splitting up and want to pay child maintenance. However, I assume the CSA can't help in making a correct calculation in how much I would need to pay since I don't live in the UK and am not employed by UK company overseas. I pay a lot more tax where I live + am paid in a different currency so I don't know how to figure out what is fair to pay. My wife is not willing to accept what I believe is fair and demands a crazy amount of money. I don't want to run from my responsibilities and be dragged to court for not paying. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Thanks

Our Response:
You can access the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order unit via the link here which should be able to give you the information you need.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Feb-16 @ 2:16 PM
Hi, I have moved abroad after splitting up and want to pay child maintenance. However, I assume the CSA can't help in making a correct calculation in how much I would need to pay since I don't live in the UK and am not employed by UK company overseas. I pay a lot more tax where I live + am paid in a different currency so I don't know how to figure out what is fair to pay. My wife is not willing to accept what I believe is fair and demands a crazy amount of money. I don't want to run from my responsibilities and be dragged to court for not paying. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Thanks
Lou - 1-Feb-16 @ 7:52 AM
chaz - Your Question:
Hi I am thinking of moving abroad with my to kids me and the father split up four years now he does'nt see the kids or does'nt pay maintaince he is on the birth cert can I just up and leave or do I need his permission to go? I have family in canada but im from Ireland can you give me advice please.

Our Response:
By law, if your ex has Parental Responsibility then you would have to seek consent from him to move abroad with your children. If he does not give his consent, then you would have to take the matter to court. If your ex has not been in your children's life then there is a good chance the courts would allow the move if you could prove it was in your children's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jan-16 @ 1:49 PM
Hi i am thinking of moving abroad with my to kids me and the father split up four years now he does'nt see the kids or does'nt pay maintaince he is on the birth cert can i just up and leave or do i need his permission to go? I have family in canada but im from Ireland can you give me advice please..
chaz - 27-Jan-16 @ 10:50 PM
Geemako - Your Question:
Hi how do I seek maintenance from a father who lives in ireland dublin.i live in botswana.father threatens to stop his support for child.i dont know how possible it is to do it from botswana.

Our Response:
Please see Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO), site here for more information. You would have to see whether your country is on the list of reciprocal members. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jan-16 @ 2:52 PM
Hi how do i seek maintenance from a father who lives in ireland dublin.i live in botswana.father threatens to stop his support for child.i dont know how possible it is to do it from botswana.
Geemako - 14-Jan-16 @ 8:13 AM
My Brother wants to move to Pakistan with his Child and girlfriend. I am Wondering if there is any Chance to stop him Taking his 1 year old son as it is declared as an unsafe Place.
Tessa - 11-Jan-16 @ 7:25 PM
Thank you for advise.husband is more than happy to pay child support.someone mentioned that if she's remarried and moved abroad that he might not have to pay anything due to this. They went to court to stop her taking the kids not sure if it's through csa or court agreement that he pays as she's always trying to get more money.just wanted to know where he stands with it
Clarky - 9-Jan-16 @ 6:18 PM
My son moved to Sweden in July 2015, his Swedish partner prior to this lived with him in uk. He is entitled to fathers leave from his job in Sweden but has to prove he does not get benefits or nhs from uk. Is there a firm he has to complete to enable him to claim the papa leave to be with they're baby
/ - 7-Jan-16 @ 8:57 PM
Clarky - Your Question:
Hi my husband has an ex wife who moved their 3 children abroad and remarried.his children are 14 twins and 17 he pays maintenance each month but does he actually have to?

Our Response:
Yes - is there any reason why he would not want to continue to support his own children?
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-16 @ 2:42 PM
Clarky - Your Question:
Hi my husband has an ex wife who moved their 3 children abroad and remarried.his children are 14 twins and 17 he pays maintenance each month but does he actually have to?

Our Response:
Yes, your husband is legally responsible for supporting his children regardless of where they live until they are 16. You don't say whether this is a family-based arrangement or through the the courts CMS or CSA. Dependent upon the country where his children live, if he stops payment the mother may be able to apply via the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit, which helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally. Your husband may not have to pay for his 17 year old child, if he/she is not in full-time education.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-16 @ 1:53 PM
Hi my husband has an ex wife who moved their 3 children abroad and remarried.his children are 14 twins and 17 he pays maintenance each month but does he actually have to?
Clarky - 6-Jan-16 @ 7:44 PM
I have 2 children , I have parental resposibility. my x has taken them to live in Spain against my wishes. can she still claim maintenance?
desparate dan - 2-Jan-16 @ 4:44 PM
I have 2 children , I have parental responsibility. my x has taken them to Spain without my permission which I will never give. do I still have to pay maintenance ?.
desparate dan - 2-Jan-16 @ 4:39 PM
My partner is irish now living in uk, his ex and kids still live in ireland. His ex wont give her bank details so he can pay her child maintenance as she says she doesnt want payments visable as it will affect her benefits.. He has asked CSA for help but was told he doesnt need to pay as there is no court order in place and even if there was it couldnt be enforced as its cross boarder... he wants to do the right thing but cant see how to pay if ex wont accept his bank payments. His son has told him he is constantly slated by his mum and sister for not contributing ! How can he make her accept ?
Getta - 30-Dec-15 @ 5:32 AM
hi, my sons father emigrated to usa when he was 14 months old approx. and he is now over 10.He paid nursery fees on and off till he was about 5 yrs old then paid voluntary maintainence but is since turning over a lot of money and yet not put my monthly payment up for years now.I get around £400 a month but have my son literally 24/7 it has been very difficult for me to work and I was signed into lots of business and home things that has cost me dearly.How easy is a remo to do and will the fact its his own business have an effect? as its so easy to hide money as he is turning over quite a lot now like over a million.. yet £20 extra is hard to obtain at times.Should I see if I can get copies of accounts first?
riadbscold - 27-Dec-15 @ 3:33 AM
I wish to return to New Zealand with my British daughter. Her dad and I are divorced. He is a British citizen and lives in Africa and has not seen her for over 2 years. Do I need permission to leave the UK with her permanently? His child support money is £1000 + in arrears. REMO and CSA unable to help. The travel is my concern. No one seems able to answer my question.
Mars - 23-Dec-15 @ 11:49 PM
A - Your Question:
My sons father has had no contact with him for 16 months, there is no court order or anything connected to our situation, can I relocate to another EU country from the UK with my child?

Our Response:
Regardless of the lack of contact, if his name is on the birth certificate and he has parental responsibility then no. If he refuses his consent, then you would have to apply through the courts.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Dec-15 @ 2:46 PM
My sons father has had no contact with him for 16 months, there is no court order or anything connected to our situation, can I relocate to another EU country from the UK with my child?
A - 23-Dec-15 @ 2:19 PM
I wish to return to New Zealand with my British daughter. Her dad and I are divorced. He is a British citizen and lives in Africa and has not seen her for over 2 years. Do I need permission to leave the UK with her permanently? His child support money is £1000 + in arrears. REMO and CSA unable to help. The travel is my concern.
Mars - 19-Dec-15 @ 11:15 AM
I wish to return to New Zealand with my British daughter. Her dad lives in Africa and has not seen her for over 2 years. Do I need permission to leave the UK with her permanently?
Mars - 12-Dec-15 @ 12:27 PM
ads092 - Your Question:
I have got a little one on the way :) but as most relationships go this one ended. The baby isn't born yet but she has applied to move to Ireland, with her new partner (not married) my general concern is if she lives in Ireland with the kid, do I have to pay CSA as she will be living abroad. Providing I give her consent to live abroad. Also don't know if this factors into it but I work in the armed forces full time.

Our Response:
Regardless of where your ex lives, you will be responsible for supporting your child. You can either do this through a family-based arrangement or via via the CMS, link here which also has a calculator that will tell you how much you should be paying.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Dec-15 @ 12:54 PM
I have got a little one on the way :) but as most relationships go this one ended. The baby isn't born yet but she has applied to move to Ireland, with her new partner (not married) my general concern is if she lives in Ireland with the kid, do I have to pay CSA as she will be living abroad. Providing I give her consent to live abroad. Also don't know if this factors into it but I work in the armed forces full time.
ads092 - 7-Dec-15 @ 5:27 PM
vanessa - Your Question:
Hi, I'm a Dutch national and live in the uk for over 10 years got two kids aged 7 and 5 from my ex who is British national, after our separation I applied for child maintenance but I do not get anything from him as he is not working and claiming any benefits. Now I got married to an American man and he wants to take me and the kids live with him in one of the golf countries as he is working there and I found a job too. What I wanted to know is am I allowed to take my kids with me knowing they are British national like their father and I'm not and also because I'm married now. He does not provide them with anything and is living with his friend. Please can you advice me on this matter. Thank you

Our Response:
Regardless of whether he is providing child support or not, you will still have to request permission from your ex (if he has parental responsibility) to leave the UK with your children to live. If your ex will not grant you permission to leave the country with your children to live, you may have to take the matter to court. If you take the children abroad without his consent, as specified in the article, it could be classed as abduction.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Dec-15 @ 12:25 PM
Lee15 - Your Question:
Hi, both myself and my ex wife are UK Citizens how ever my wife has now moved to Spain with my daughter and all form of contact has stopped, I still pay £60 per week csa and want to know do I still have to pay this or can I get it stopped.

Our Response:
I'm afraid regardless of where your child lives, or whether you are still in contact, by law you still have to support your daughter financially.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Dec-15 @ 10:46 AM
Hi, I'm a Dutch national and live in the uk for over 10 years got two kids aged 7 and 5 from my ex who is British national, after our separation I applied for child maintenance but I do not get anything from him as he is not working and claiming any benefits. Now I got married to an American man and he wants to take me and the kids live with him in one of the golf countries as he is working there and I found a job too. What i wanted to know is am I allowed to take my kids with me knowing they are British national like their father and I'm not and also because I'm married now. He does not provide them with anything and is living with his friend. Please can you advice me on this matter. Thank you
vanessa - 5-Dec-15 @ 9:50 AM
Hi, both myself and my ex wife are UK Citizens how ever my wife has now moved to Spain with my daughter and all form of contact has stopped, I still pay £60 per week csa and want to know do I still have to pay this or can i get it stopped.
Lee15 - 4-Dec-15 @ 5:01 PM
Confusedalot - Your Question:
Hi,I currently live in the UK with partner and our 3 year old daughter. I am a swedish national and he is British. Due to donestic violence I need some advice o what to do please. I lost my job earlier this year and im on my partners JSA claim. What can I do to get help? My partner keeps telling me I have no rights and all I can do is go back to Sweden. Im not leaving my daughter in a country where I am not living in. I am really worried as I realise I need to leave but I have no where to go and as it is right now, my partner and me would have to shared custody. According to him or he just takes our daughter as I dont have anything. Thankful for reply.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this - this is an increasing problem regarding international relationships where people are finding themselves trapped in a country because of parenting rules. You may be able to claim benefits, please see link here. You may also be able to get some legal advice if you talk to your local CAB office. If you wish to return to your home country with your child, you would need to get consent from your partner to take your daughter home - or apply through the courts. You would have to prove it was in your daughter's and your best interests to take your child back to Sweden. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Nov-15 @ 11:59 AM
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