The Family Law Act, which is the overriding legislation which deals with parenting matters across Australia, does not prohibit parents from relocating following the breakdown of their marriage or de-facto relationship.
Parents may wish to relocate for many reasons, including for new employment opportunities, seeking family support, commencing a new relationship, or to create a physical distance between them and their estranged partner.
At the end of the day, any relocation should not be merely about distance. It should be about what are the consequences on the children who are moving away from the former family home and the non-resident parent?
The Family Law Court deals with parenting disputes where parties are unfortunately unable to agree in respect of the formal parenting arrangements concerning their children. The Court may be required to make an order permitting a parent to relocate away from the other parent or indeed can order a parent to return to where the estranged parent is living.
The Court must ensure that whatever decision it makes in light of all the facts and circumstances of the case, that the child’s best interests are paramount.
Clearly, relocating to a different town or suburb, interstate or overseas, will impact a child’s ability to spend time with and communicate with the non-resident parent. The practical difficulties, inconvenience and expense associated with facilitating time with the non-resident parent may therefore, outweigh the perceived benefits of moving. Likewise, the commitment of the resident parent to facilitate such time may be an issue.
It is also worth noting that so long as there is no history of abuse, violence or neglect by a parent, the Court must consider the benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents. Ultimately, relocating children away from one parent, may have a minimal, or alternatively, a significant effect on the ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents.
At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise and experience to assist you with relocation issues and any family law matter because Helping You is Our Business.
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