If you wish to move intrastate, interstate or internationally with your children, you are not permitted to do so without the other parent’s permission, or an order of the court. If you move without permission or an order, the other parent may bring an application for the children’s return, which is likely to be successful on an urgent or interim basis until your matter can be properly determined.
If you would like to relocate with your children, you should take steps to discuss this with the other parent, including through Family Dispute Resolution or mediation, or with the assistance of a solicitor. If the other parent does not agree for you to relocate, you will need to make an application to the Family Court to permit you to relocate with the children.
There are not any specific legislative provisions in relation to relocation. In considering your application for relocation, the Court will balance the best interests of the children with the parent’s freedom of movement and will consider the provisions under Part VII of the Family Law Act (or Part 5 of the Family Court Act), which relate to parenting matters generally.
The Court will consider the competing proposals of each parent and may make orders which provide for the child to live with either the relocating or non-relocating parent (and spend time and/or communicate with the other), or orders which apply in the event neither parent relocates, or if both parents move to the new location.
Relocation matters are highly discretionary – which means the Court can often decide either way and there is no guarantee of success. If you wish to relocate with your children, it is essential that you seek legal advice as early as possible to give you the best prospects of success.
Alternatively, if you seek to oppose a relocation application made by the other parent of your children (or if the other parent has already relocated with your children and you seek for them to be returned), you should seek legal advice quickly to minimise disruption to the children