Can my ex relocate and take my child with them?

It can be very distressing after a separation to find out that your ex-partner wishes to move to a different part of the country. There is no legal requirement for them to obtain the consent of the court to a move, so if you are concerned about the proposed relocation, you should consider your options.

Moving to a different part of the country with a child after separation

The parent who is proposing to move away should endeavour to have an open and honest discussion with the other parent about their plans. Where both parties have parental responsibility for a child, major decisions should be agreed upon together wherever possible.

This includes any proposal to move away, where you intend to relocate to and what school the child will attend. You will also need to consider how travel arrangements will work. This could be shared between the parents, with them each undertaking to do one journey.

It will help if you have some suggestions as to how the child will be able to continue in a meaningful relationship with the parent who will be left behind. This could be by way of telephone calls, online contact and extended weekends and holiday time.

If a parent objects to a child being relocated

It is open to a parent to apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order to stop a move going ahead. If the move is imminent and you have only just found out about it, the court may issue an emergency order designed to give the parties time to try and reach an agreement.

In considering whether to prevent the move long-term, the court will look at the following issues:

  • The suggested plans for ongoing contact
  • What the impact will be on the primary carer if they are prohibited from relocating, as well as the impact on the child
  • The impact on the child’s relationship with the parent who is not moving
  • What the motivation is for moving away, for instance, whether it is to take up a new job or join a new partner. Where the motivation is purely to move away from the other parent, the court may be more likely to stop the move.

In reaching a decision, the court will look at what it considers to be in the best interests of the child. A child arrangements order could be put in place setting out whom the child will live with and the rules for the new situation. This would be likely to contain details about contact, including how it will take place, and potentially include more time for the child to spend with the parent who is not the primary carer, both at weekends and during the holidays.

If a child arrangements order is already in place with one parent having been given residence, the court is less likely to subsequently impose conditions on where the parent can live, provided it is still within the country and that the child’s welfare is not negatively impacted.

Contact us

At Tayntons we have wide experience in all aspects of divorce and family law. If you would like to speak to one of our expert solicitors about your child relocating or child arrangements, email us at, call us on 0800 158 4147 or request a call back and a member of our team will be in touch promptly.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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