Written by Gemma Gillespie

Solicitor at Cooper Burnett

Gemma is a senior Associate Solicitor in the Family and Matrimonial Department. Gemma qualified in 1996 and, for the last 17 years, has specialised exclusively in family law, acting on behalf of clients in complex financial cases in respect of divorce proceedings and private law children proceedings.

Gemma is empathetic and has her clients needs at the forefront of matters. She is a level headed and effective collaborative lawyer, who I have worked with on many occasions. Helen Waite, Thompson, Snell & Passmore.

Work has offered me a promotion but it would mean moving about 200 miles away. This will impact on the time my children have with their father. Will a court stop me from going

The court always weighs up what is in the children’s best interests when considering this question.

The court will want to be confident that the move is not motivated by you wanting to stop the children seeing their father.

In the circumstances, as a parent, you need to consider firstly how you will continue to promote the children’s relationship with their father. How will you be able to ensure the children have time with him? In between actual visits, would you be able to ensure the children have telephone/video calls with him? Could you arrange visits when returning to this area to see your family? If a court can see that the children’s relationship with their father is going to be sustained and supported, this will really help.

On the other hand, if there has been a history of contested child arrangement proceedings, your application to move may be more difficult as the court will want to be confident that the move is not motivated by you wanting to stop the children seeing their father.

Not only do you need to consider the father’s relationship with the children, you need to consider all your children’s other needs as well.

Your children’s education is a key issue and you should make enquiries of new schools in the area you plan to move to and look at Ofsted reports. Always talk to the father to see if he wants to be involved in choosing the school.

In addition to education, you of course will need to sort out accommodation in the area you are planning to move to and make sure that the move makes sense financially, which should be the case as you have secured a promotion, but you still need to consider the cost of living in the new area and transport costs.

Remember the older and more mature a child is, the greater weight the court will attach to their wishes.

Always talk to the children’s father and tell him about what your plans are well in advance of any move. If you do not do this and he hears about the move from someone else, he may make an emergency application to the court to stop you moving. Courts are very unhappy about this kind of underhand behaviour and it can really prejudice your chances of moving.  If the father is still unhappy after you have spoken to him, agree to go to mediation to talk it all through in front of a neutral person. If you still cannot agree, then the court may have to make the decision for you both.

In summary, if you plan properly and keep the father fully involved throughout, the court will not stop you moving unless the father can show that such a move is not in the children’s best interests.

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