The Court of Appeal has clarified the law on internal relocation of a child in a recent case*. Internal relocation is where one parent wants to move to another part of the UK with their child and the other parent objects to this move.
Under previous law it was thought that the parent who objected to the move may have to show “exceptional circumstances” to prevent the move. However, this test does not apply in international cases.
It has now been confirmed that there should be no distinction between internal and external relocation cases. Therefore the only principle to be applied in either of these situations is that the welfare of the child is paramount, there is no need to show “exceptional circumstances”.
However, it was also made clear that the distance the parent wishes to move will be considered as will the practicalities of contact with the other parent. As such restrictions are unlikely to be imposed where a parent only wishes to move a short distance as it could not be shown there would be a negative impact on the welfare of the child.
Nicola Whitley, Head of Family Law at Swain & Co Solicitors says, “The decision to bring internal relocation in line with external relocation with regard to the matters to be looked at, makes a great deal of sense. Parents should remember that the Court will always look at the welfare of the child prior to making any order affecting that child.”
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*Re C (Internal Relocation)  EWCA Civ 1305