When couples separate, often one of the parties wishes to move to a new location for a new job, to be closer to their family, or to make a fresh start. Questions arise however when these parties are parents and wish to move away from the other parent.
As a general rule, parents should be open and discuss their relocation plans with the other parent as well as seeking their consent before they move. The 2014 Family Court gave judgment in the case of Adamson which highlighted the legal complexities involved when a parent relocates with children away from the other parent.
The facts of Adamson were as follows: It involved a married couple living in Sydney with a child who was only 12 months of age when the parties separated. There was a domestic violence incident at separation which resulted in the husband receiving a 12 month AVO against him and a conviction for common assault.
As a result of the separation both parties moved from Sydney. The wife at first instance moved 200 kilometers north of Sydney to live with her parents for extra support. The husband later moved in the same direction and resided on the Central Coast. From the date of separation to the date of the hearing the father saw his child approximately once per month for a number of hours on each occasion. The father considered that he maintain a relationship with his child.
An application was filed in the Family Court by the father, for the mother to return the child to live no further than 20 kilometers from him. The father sought an order for the Court to restrict where the mother lived and worked and which would force her to relocate once again, this time to the Central Coast, as the father desired for the father to be able to spend more time with the child.
The Court declined to make an order for the mother to relocate. The court found that the father could continue to maintain a meaningful relationship and spend reasonable time with the child, despite the distance that the parties lived apart. The Court decided that it was not in the child’s best interest to make such a restrictive order on the mother and she was not required to move.
In extreme circumstances, the Family Court has the power to make an adult relocate. The Court must be satisfied it is reasonably practicable, and ultimately in the best interests of the child.
Parents should seek out legal advice as each case differs depending on the facts and circumstances. At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise and experience to assist you with parenting matters and any other family law matter because Helping You is Our Business.
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