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    Do I need my ex-husband’s consent to move our children abroad?


    Q: I want to move to Singapore with my husband and my children from my previous marriage. My ex-husband is refusing to agree to this as he spends time with the children regularly and is worried about the impact of our move on their relationship.

    My husband has been offered a position with his employer which includes accommodation and private schooling for the children in Singapore, so it’ll be an excellent opportunity for our family to experience living abroad and we’re confident we’ll enjoy a good quality of life there.

    Do I need my ex-husband’s consent to move our children abroad? If he refuses to give his consent, what would I need to do?

    A: As you wish to take your children outside of the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, you would need their father’s consent. If he refuses to give this, then it will be necessary for you to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting and consider mediation as a way to attempt to resolve this dispute.

    Maintaining contact

    Your former husband may wish to seek reassurances about maintaining his relationship with the children. It may be that you could agree for the children to travel to see him and for him to visit the children in Singapore. You could also agree that they could speak regularly by Skype or FaceTime calls, for example.

    Specific issue orders

    If your former partner continues to refuse to provide his consent, then it would be necessary to apply to the court for a specific issue order. The court will consider the following in making their decision;

    • Your plans for the move – are these reasonable and realistic
    • Your motivations in wishing to move
    • The effect on the children of losing the opportunity to spend time with their father regularly
    • The effect on the children of losing the opportunity to spend regular time with their extended family members, particularly if they have enjoyed a close relationship
    • The effect on you and your husband of not being able to move
    • The arrangements for ongoing contact between your former husband and the children

    A well thought-out plan

    Ensure that you have well thought out and clear plans in place, including arrangements for travel, employment, accommodation, schooling and health care.

    It must be clear from your plans that your income will be sufficient to meet your needs and that the area where you intend to live has appropriate amenities and facilities for the children. If there are specific benefits for the children in the move, then these should be set out.

    Your plans should also include your proposals for the children to spend time with their father, how regularly this will be possible and what types of contact will take place between visits.

    You should take specialist legal advice before making any final decisions on how to proceed. For additional information on specific issue orders or for advice on any family law matter, contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321.

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