Sep­a­ra­tion Post COVID 19 – Relo­ca­tion of chil­dren and the impor­tance of plan­ning now

Sep­a­ra­tion is tough! Espe­cial­ly when there are chil­dren involved but add a pan­dem­ic into the mix and it is next level.

In these uncer­tain times it may feel as though you have lit­tle con­trol over your sep­a­ra­tion par­tic­u­lar­ly if you are want­i­ng to move with the chil­dren. With the COVID-19 restric­tions eas­ing, you might be con­sid­er­ing that now is the time to move.

If you are con­tem­plat­ing mov­ing with the chil­dren (often referred to as relo­ca­tion), here are some of our top tips for you to consider:

Devel­op a plan or proposal

  • Job prospects.
  • Sup­port system.
  • What school/​s you pro­pose the chil­dren attend?
  • Where will you reside with the children?
  • Pos­si­bil­i­ty of the oth­er par­ent also relocating.
  • Pro­pos­al for time to be spent with the oth­er parent

Make sure your pro­pos­al for time is specific

  • How long the chil­dren will spend with the oth­er par­ent. For exam­ple, do you pro­pose longer blocks of hol­i­day time? Is the oth­er par­ent wel­come to see the chil­dren in your pro­posed location?
  • Facil­i­ta­tion of reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion via Skype, Face­time, What­sApp or oth­er elec­tron­ic means and how often?

Have your agree­ment made binding

If you reach an agree­ment with the oth­er par­ent about par­ent­ing arrange­ments for your chil­dren and would like to make the agree­ment enforce­able before you leave, then you will need to doc­u­ment your agree­ment as Con­sent Orders sealed by the Court. 

Be cau­tious to the fact that a writ­ten agree­ment or par­ent­ing plan is not legal­ly binding. 

Why is it impor­tant to have an agree­ment made bind­ing? Con­sid­er the fol­low­ing sce­nario. You and your for­mer spouse agree to you and the chil­dren relo­cat­ing to anoth­er state which you do. One month after mov­ing, con­flict erupts between you both and your for­mer spouse demands that the chil­dren be returned home’. In this sce­nario your for­mer spouse could make an appli­ca­tion to the Court to have the chil­dren returned on an inter­im basis which would mean that you would have to make the deci­sion of stay­ing where you are with­out the chil­dren or mov­ing back with the chil­dren. If you had con­sent orders, the onus would be on your for­mer spouse to con­vince the Court to dis­charge the cur­rent Orders and have new Orders replace them.

If you can­not reach an agree­ment, utilise the assis­tance of the Court 

If you can­not agree on new arrange­ments the only alter­na­tive is to approach the Court for per­mis­sion to go. This can be a lengthy process. There is no guar­an­tee that your mat­ter will move through the Court sys­tem more quick­ly, based on your pro­pos­al to relocate.

If you are the par­ent stay­ing behind and antic­i­pate that your for­mer part­ner is going to relo­cate with­out your agree­ment, you need to com­mence pro­ceed­ings quick­ly, to restrain your for­mer part­ner from relo­cat­ing with the children.

If you are con­sid­er­ing relo­cat­ing or you are con­cerned that your spouse will relo­cate with the chil­dren, please get in touch with us. We are here to help and just a phone call away.