Relocation Applications

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are wishing to relocate with your children to another town, state or country, it is essential that both parents consent to one party relocating with the children.

In order to show that your relocation is beneficial to the child, you will generally need to show that you are seeking to move closer to family, have a unique employment opportunity or that there are educational opportunities in this location that would benefit the child. The Court also likes to observe that you have sought to negotiate an arrangement with the other side and that you have turned your mind to understanding what a care arrangement could reasonably look like if you were in fact to relocate.

If the parents are not able to reach an agreement about the proposed relocation, then a Relocation Application can be made in the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court. If a party decides to relocate without a Relocation Application being made, then the other party may apply for a Recovery Order.

I am separated and want to move away. Who should I consider when deciding if I should move?

You should consider the needs of your children, their other parent and any other people who are important to your children.

You should consider the impact a move away might have on your children.  How settled are they in their current surroundings?  How will a move away impact your children’s ability to see their other parent or other significant people in their lives?  Will they need to settle in a new school, culture or language?  How capable are they of adapting?  These are just some of the factors you should consider regarding your children.

Under the family law system, it is presumed that children should have a meaningful relationship with both parents.  A meaningful relationship between children and their parents is often enabled by spending time with each other.  There may be court orders that say how much time your child is to spend with their other parent, which may impact your ability to move away.  You should also consider the impact your move may have on other parties who are important to the child, and how they may maintain a meaningful relationship with the child.

You do not need to apply for a relocation order if you do not have any children.

How far away can I move without needing a relocation order?

There is no set limit for how far away separated parents can move from each other.

In relocation orders, the court is required to balance two key rights: children having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and parents’ freedom of movement.  If the two are in direct conflict, the family law system will give priority to the rights of the children.

If your matter goes to court, the court will look at the practical impact that your move would have on your child.  It may also consider the impact on people who are important to your child.  It might be helpful to try and reach an agreement with the other party if you want to move further away from them.

My child’s parent wants me to move to be closer to them. Can they make me move?

If your children live with you and their other parent lives further away, they might wish for you to move closer.

The court does have the power to compel you to move if they consider that this will be in the best interests of your child.  The child’s best interests are the paramount consideration in orders concerning children, but they are not the only consideration.  The court will also consider factors such as your right to choose where you live or whether the other parent can or should move.  The court may also consider whether there are alternative parenting arrangements that might still allow your child to have a meaningful relationship with both of their parents.  These could include longer periods during school holidays with their other parent, or longer periods for the parent who lives away from the children to visit them.

You and the other parent can negotiate an agreement to suit both of your needs while maintaining your child’s best interests.  You may apply to have an agreement made into consent orders.

Questions? Ask our Family Law team.

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