Can I Relocate Interstate If Final Parenting Orders Have Been Made?

After a separation, it is natural for a person to wish to relocate interstate due to a new job, or wanting to be closer to family for support. However, having a final parenting order in place makes simply relocating with your child more complex.

Consent Through Negotiation

Claiming a Will

You are able to relocate with your child if both parents consent. You should approach your co-parent and provide as many details as possible regarding your intent to move. This includes; location, a proposed school for the child to attend, and suggestions as to how the child would be able to maintain a relationship with their other parent. This conversation can be facilitated through Family Dispute Resolution if required. Parties that reach an agreement to relocate should write the agreement into a parenting plan.

Relocation Order

It is not uncommon for parties to fail in reaching a relocation agreement. One parent may not be willing to reduce the time they spend with their child. In this instance, the relocating parent can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to obtain a relocation order, permitting the party to relocate with the child.

However, there are some obstacles that need to be overcome. In absence of family violence, the court holds a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. The overarching object of parenting orders, as much as practicable, that it is in the child’s best interest to enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents. Therefore, the relocating parent needs to provide evidence that relocation is in the best interests of the child. This will be weighed against the benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and the possibility of the child being able to visit the other parent.

Relocation Order

Tips for the Relocating Parent

An application for a relocation order will be better supported in court by providing the following evidence:

Relocating Parenting Tips

The other party will submit contrary evidence to the court. It is usual for a Family Report to be ordered to assess whether relocation is in the child’s best interest. It should be noted that court proceedings are expensive and lengthy. Relocation orders are discretionary and are assessed on the independent merits of each case. Due to the overarching goal to maintain a meaningful relationship between the child and both parents, any evidence of negatively affecting a relationship may make it difficult to relocate.

What if my co-parent has already relocated without permission?

Relocating without permission (through consent or a relocation order) is treated seriously by the courts. A parent can apply to the court for a Recovery Order which requires the child to be returned until further Orders are made.

Relocating after a final parenting order has been made is a complex matter. You should seek legal advice before making any decisions relating to a child or a parenting order. Please contact us if you need advice regarding negotiating with a co-parent, applying for a relocation order, or responding to a relocation order application.

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