Relocating children following breakdown relationship
In my blog “Moving home after divorce: with or without the children?” I discussed the issues at stake when the main carer wants to relocate with the children to another part of the Netherlands, or even another country, following the breakdown of a relationship. There’s no shortage of court rulings on this issue nowadays. As society becomes increasingly international, more and more people are forming international relationships – with the added risk that, following a divorce, one of the parents will want to return to his or her home country.
Even in our own country, we are dealing with a growing number of relocation cases, due more often than not to people finding a new love in another part of the country.
The ties that bind
Parents are well aware that they will always have ties with each other because of their son or daughter, but they don’t always realise the impact this has on their own lives. A parent may not relocate with the children without the consent of the other parent with parental authority. If a parent flouts this requirement, and moves away from the Netherlands, this is child abduction – which is a criminal offence. A parent may not relocate even within the Netherlands without consent.
Weighing up the interests
I informed you previously about how the court must weigh up the respective interests if presented with an application for “consent in lieu”, or substitute consent, to relocate. Here is a list of the criteria that will be considered:
– the main carer’s right to and interest in relocating, and his or her freedom to start a new life,
– the necessity for the relocation,
– how well thought-out and well-prepared the relocation is,
– the alternatives offered by the main carer and measures to mitigate and/or compensate for the consequences of the relocation for the children and the other parent,
– the sharing of the care duties and the continuity of care,
– the rights of the parent who is left behind and the children to undiminished contact with each other in their familiar environment,
– the frequency of contact between the children and the parent left behind prior to and following the relocation,
– the age of the children, their opinion, and how settled they are in their environment or whether they are accustomed to relocating,
– the (additional) costs of contact as a result of the relocation, and
– how able the parties are to communicate with and consult each other.
Whilst the child’s interests are paramount, there are other relevant interests to consider.
Do you need help?
If you are dealing with relocation issues, or you know somebody who is, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Together, we can work out an acceptable solution.
Susan Meijler is a well-experienced and versatile expert at GMW lawyers. Her focus is on the family law practice. She is a member of the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (vFAS). In particular Susan handles complex divorces with an international character. In addition, Susan has extensive experience in the area of custody and care arrangements and the legal aspects of (international) relocations.