Relocation – What will the Court consider when one parent wants to relocate with the children?

As with any matter involving children before the Court, there are two primary considerations which must be considered:-

  1. The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
  2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm including being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.

In cases where one party wishes to relocate with the child and the other parent does not agree to the child being relocated, it is prudent for the party wishing to relocate to try and reach agreement though Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution. If an agreement is still unable to be reached, then the party wishing to relocate should seek Orders through the Federal Circuit Court.

In these cases, the Court will give consideration to:-

  1. Whether the proposed relocation will negatively impact on the child’s ability to maintain their relationship with the parent that will remain living in the same place including the costs and logistical difficulties of the parent not relocating spending time with the child;
  2. The wishes of the child, depending on their maturity and understanding;
  3. Why the parent wishes to move. There must be good reasons which might include:-
    • Financial implications such as better job prospects;
    • The parent wishing to relocate may have no family support in the current place and wishes to relocate to where they will have greater family support;
    • A history of domestic violence.
  4. One parent may have had little to no involvement in the child’s life in which case the parent wishing to remain in the same place would not really have their time impacted;
  5. Whether there are other children involved such as a half-sibling which would not be included on the relocation and the impact to that relationship;
  6. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. This may include offering significant holiday time, paying for the travel costs, enabling the other parent to spend time with the child at the new town or city if they travel there;
  7. Recent cases have taken into account the mental health of the parent wishing to relocate. If the Court was to refuse to allow the parent to relocate with the child and the parent needed to remain in the same place as they are the primary carer for the child, would that decision negatively impact on the parent’s ability to parent the child?
  8. The proposals for the children’s living arrangements put forward by each parent;
  9. Whether the parent initially not wanting to relocate is also able to relocate.

Each case is different.

If you or the other parent are considering relocating, talk to one of our expert team on (07) 5591 5099 to get the right advice for your circumstances.

There are times when urgent advice is needed.

  • If you become aware that the other parent is considering relocating, get immediate advice to prevent the unilateral relocation of the party and your children.
  • If you’ve been affected where the parent has already relocated, contact us for advice about bringing an application for location and recovery Orders.


Author: Sophie Pearson

Director: Sophie Pearson

Date: 28 June 2019