Locating a child when the whereabouts are unknown
Question of the week #8
Q: Can I relocate to another state or country with my children? What if there are currently existing parenting orders?
A: As a parent or guardian of a child, you may either:
(1) seek permission from the child’s parent; or
(2) obtain an order from the Family Court to relocate to another location, state, or country with your child.
Whether or not you can relocate with the child to another location, state, or country is dependent on where you plan to move. For example, moving to another suburb and moving to another country have big differences. Accordingly, if your proposed relocation is likely to affect the child or the other parent spending time with the child, you may need to make proposals as to how the other parent will spend time with the child upon relocation.
If there is a current Family Court Order that states that you cannot relocate with the child, you will need to seek legal advice in relation to your next steps.
If there is a current parenting order in place providing a parent or another person to spend time with the child, you must not do things that would be against such parenting order without the person’s consent.
If the existing parenting order provides that you and the other parent or another person are to have equal shared parental responsibility, both parties must agree on the relocation, as it is a major decision concerning the child.
If there is an existing parenting order or an application for parenting orders has commenced, you must not go overseas with the child without written consent (in the form of a statutory declaration) of the other parent or another person contained in the parenting order or the application.
How does the Family Court decide to approve relocation of the child?
In determining whether or not the child can relocate to another location, state or country, the Family Court will examine the following:
♣ What is in the best interests of the child;
♣ Options or proposals concerning the arrangements for the child upon relocation; and
♣ Reasons for the proposed relocation.
What is in the best interests of the child is the most important consideration by the Family Court in deciding if a child can relocate. Factors to be taken into account include the following:
♣ How the relocation will impact on the child – such as the child’s school, friends and family
♣ The child’s age
♣ The wishes of the child
♣ How much time the child is spending with the parent or other person they do not live with
♣ Current relationship with the parent or other person they do not live with
♣ Current relationship with the parent or other person they live with
♣ The distance and permanent nature of the move
♣ The proposals for the other parent or another person to spend time with the child upon approval of the proposed relocation