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Can I Stop My Ex Moving Our Children Abroad?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 14 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Divorce Abroad Ex Taking Kids

Q.

My ex-wife and I have enjoyed a 6-year period of shared responsbility for our 9-year-old twins (a boy and a girl). This is now threatened by my ex-wife and latest husband wanting to live in France for a year from next July with my kids, who will then be 10 years old, nearly 11.

I do not feel the experience of being uprooted to a foreign country, albeit one they have visited many times on hoilday, will be a positve one for them and I feel they will loose out significantly from loss of contact with myself. I have expressed many of these feelings to her to no avail. Our current arrangement is Sunday to Tuesday at their mums, Wednesday to Saturday at mine.

I was unmarried to their mother at birth, but was named on the certificate. I then married the mother and before we divorced returned to the registrar to amend the entry etc. Do I have parental rights and is court the only likely way of resolving this form of dispute?

(I.C, 19 October 2008)

A.

You obviously have what’s called parental responsibility for your children since the divorce. That gives you a position of some strength, although it’s not as good as you might wish under the circumstances.

If your ex had sole responsibility, then she’d have no problem moving to France with the children, barring a court order preventing it.

As it stands, then, that doesn’t apply, and she would need your oral or written permission in order to move with the children. If the residence order means the kids spend part of the week with you, then she will need your written consent.

Of course, you have the option to withhold your consent, and it certainly sounds as if you’re not too happy about the situation. But you’d be better served if the two of you can come to a mutual agreement on the situation. Why is that a good idea?

The simple fact is that your ex can apply to the court to be allowed to take the children abroad, and there’s a fair chance that she’ll be granted permission by the court.

You’d be well advised to talk to your solicitor first to assess your full legal options. If it does come to court, you’ll need to mount good objections to your ex taking the kids abroad to live. Much of that strategy would be on how it affects the kids themselves, since that should be the focus for the court. It’s one that might serve you well, since the court could be encouraged to take testimony from the children themselves.

That’s not good news overall, and certainly not reassuring news, unfortunately. That also makes it a good idea to try to work something out with your ex, if that’s at all possible. Otherwise, there’s going to be even more animosity than there is now, which makes things worse for the children, too.

Keep your tempers in control where you talk to your ex, and keep the focus on the children and what’s best for them. Divorce can be traumatic enough for them, although you’ve all apparently coped with it quite well to date. Keep them at the centre of things, always. We have a longer feature on this subject here.

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I have parental responsibility for my son (I am named on birth certificate). he is 2.5 years old. Child lives with mother and I have a child arrangements order giving me overnight staying contact every weekend There is a specific instruction in the court order stating Holidays are to be agreed in writing between parents and each to give the other reasonable notice but not less than 3 weeks of flight details/dates/destination etc. with regards to the above, am i right in assuming to take my son abroad/on holiday the mother needs my consent given that a) i have parental responsibility and b) there is a specific instruction to us in the court order, regarding holidays ("need to be agreed"). and c) as i have overnight staying contact, any holiday would disrupt it therefore needs to be agreed by me/consented. And if she still takes him without my consent by merely informing me, then is it a breach of court order terms (i.e not agreed) and class as abduction. I know i can apply to stop it via a prohibited steps order but can she still go without consent...regardless
bimma - 14-Feb-17 @ 6:37 PM
Matt - Your Question:
I met my partner whilst living abroad. We moved back to the UK with our children. One is not mine but I have parental responsibility the is mine. They both have passports and birth certificates and passports of their country of birth so not UK. After the relationship breaking down she wants to move back and take the kids with her. What are my options? Is there anyway I can stop this?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, your ex would need your oral or written permission in order to move away with the children. However, if you feel your ex may do this without your consent, then you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A PSO is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. There is no guarantee you will be given the order, much will depend upon whether the judge thinks it is in your children's best interests. Therefore, legal advice would be needed here.
SeparatedDads - 8-Dec-16 @ 12:59 PM
I met my partner whilst living abroad.We moved back to the UK with our children.One is not mine but I have parental responsibility the is mine.They both have passports and birth certificates and passports of their country of birth so not UK.After the relationship breaking down she wants to move back and take the kids with her.What are my options? Is there anyway I can stop this?
Matt - 8-Dec-16 @ 9:28 AM
need to know - Your Question:
Myself and daughter are moving to jersey channel islands with my new partner.do I have to get her fathers consent seeing as it part of the british islands?we plan to fly back everyother weekend for her to see her dad and have even book flight for this already. but now her father is getting funny he only see's her everyother weekend now please help

Our Response:
Yes, you do have to ask for your ex's consent if he has Parental Responsibility. Otherwise, it will be considered abduction if you remove your child from the country to live without his permission.
SeparatedDads - 7-Nov-16 @ 1:56 PM
myself and daughter are moving to jersey channel islands with my new partner. do I have to get her fathers consent seeing as it part of the british islands? we plan to fly back everyother weekend for herto see her dad and have even book flight for this already.but now her father is getting funny he only see's her everyother weekend now please help
need to know - 7-Nov-16 @ 10:11 AM
My son was born in Cyprus. I am british mother and all british family. My son has cypriot birth certificate and passport. What rights does my babies cypriot father have. He is threatening to go to court and make me travel over. He says he can make our son go to live with him if he wants to?
Susit - 2-Nov-16 @ 11:40 PM
will - Your Question:
My current partner suffers from bipolar, we lived in spain and when I was out of the country working she left our baby girls(10 days ) by her self , social services where informed and took custody of our 2 girls , I travelled back and after 3 months we got our girls back,she has slipped back into drinking and refusing to accept this is a problem , we moved back to uk for more support, but I feel she is in denial and has persuaded herself she has no part in the problems we face , I can see no other option but to leave as our life is one car crash after another with the girls inthe middle, can social services provide me with some support to help, she abuses alcohol and refuses to accept this has a destroying affect on our family life I have not got the strength to continue on this roller coaster.she wants to return to hercountry , can I stop her from removing our gorl from the uk because of her past history of endangering gorls in another country ??

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You would need to seek legal advice. But if you think your partner may leave the country with your children and without your permission (if you have Parental Responsibility) then you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order through the courts. A PSO is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. If you are worried about safeguarding your children, local authority social services support families and safeguard children who may be at risk of harm, whether from family members or others. Levels of support can vary within each local authority but they provide support to families who are in need of additional help and support which is unavailable from schools, GPs, other health services, or community-based services. Please see Family Lives link here for more information. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-Nov-16 @ 10:56 AM
My current partner suffers from bipolar, we lived in spain and when i was out of the country working she left our baby girls(10 days ) by her self , social services where informed and took custody of our 2 girls , i travelled back and after 3 months we got our girls back,she has slipped back into drinking and refusing to accept this is a problem , we moved back to uk for more support, but i feel she is in denial and has persuaded herself she has no part in the problems we face , i can see no other option but to leave as our life is one car crash after another with the girls inthe middle, can social services provide me with some support to help, she abuses alcohol and refuses to accept this has a destroying affect on our family life i have not got the strength to continue on this roller coaster.she wants to return to hercountry , can i stop her from removing our gorl from the uk because of her past history of endangering gorls in another country ??
will - 31-Oct-16 @ 11:02 AM
How does a pso stop my ex from leaving uk
Tone - 14-Oct-16 @ 8:08 PM
freeme - Your Question:
Me and my partner have been married for 3 years. We have a 7 month old baby girl. She doesn't want to be with me any more and wants to move back home to cape town. I am scared that once she does I won't see my baby girl again. I am also worried how she will survive as wages are not great there, she has family witch will help her to start with. I don't know what to do. I don't want things to end badly between us and don't particularly want to stop her but I don't feel it would be a good move for our daughter.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. As specified in the article, if you have parental responsibility for your child, then your partner will have to request your consent in order to move away. If she does move, you will still be responsible for paying child maintenance for your daughter until she reaches school leaving age regardless of her living abroad. If the situation deteriorates and you feel your partner may move away without your consent, you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A PSO is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their child. Of course, working it out with your partner is the best option, as is coming to an agreement that will suit you both. I wish you the best of luck.
SeparatedDads - 23-Aug-16 @ 12:59 PM
Me and my partner have been married for 3 years. We have a 7 month old baby girl. She doesn't want to be with me any more and wants to move back home to cape town. I am scared that once she does i won't see my baby girl again. I am also worried how she will survive as wages are not great there, she has family witch will help her to start with. I don't know what to do. I don't want things to end badly between us and don't particularlywant to stop her but i don't feel it would be a good move for our daughter.
freeme - 23-Aug-16 @ 12:04 AM
Vilu- Your Question:
Hi , I'm married to Marocan but sepreted , he's trying to get my 7 months old son back to Morocco but I don't want too as he was born in the Uk. Also , he was violent and abusive towards us and just wondering who the court give the son or is he gonna have any chances to have him at all ?

Our Response:
The UK court will not award custody of your son to his father and allow him to remove your child from the country, especially if you are currently separated and you are the primary carer. However, while not wishing to alarm you, if you are concerned that your ex may try to abduct your child, then you need to seek legal advice asap. Please see abduction link here and What Happens If My Ex Keeps the Children Without My Consent? here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 17-Aug-16 @ 12:27 PM
Hi , I'm married to Marocan but sepreted , he's trying to get my 7 months old son back to Morocco but I don't want too as he was born in the Uk. Also , he was violent and abusive towards us and just wondering who the court give the son or is he gonna have any chances to have him at all ?
Vilu - 16-Aug-16 @ 10:41 PM
@Donna60 - your ex could be done for abduction if he tries to take your child without consent. Just don't let your child near him if you are in fear, as it's better to try to prevent the situation rather than resolve it. As once out of the country it becomes very difficult to trace a person, especially in Egypt.
Mari - 8-Aug-16 @ 12:56 PM
My Egyptian husband In UK on spouse visa we have baby 9months old we separated and home office have curtailed his visa asking him to leave UK voluntarily he works in UK on temp contract. He is not on child's birth cert has no PR and I never registered the Islamic marriage in UK although it is stamped in Cairo British embassy. Married in Alexandria In public notarized office with 2 male witnesses. I will divorce him In UK eventually but hopefully he be outa UK soon . has anyone any advice he threatens to take baby and I have left him due to domestic violence. He doesn't see baby I have police records
Donna60 - 7-Aug-16 @ 10:30 PM
Me and a girlfriend has just split up and I am just woundering how far across the country can she go as I don't drrive thank you
Lee - 30-Jul-16 @ 8:31 AM
Mouse - Your Question:
My ex wife has remarried a serviceman and he wants to apply to be posted to Cyprus for 3 years. They want to take my 2 children but I do not want this as I'll not see them regularly. We've always had an agreement between us that I see them at weekends and holidays. Can I stop them going?

Our Response:
You can try. Your ex has to ask for consent from you in order to legally take your children out of the country. If your ex takes your children without this consent, then this will be classed as abduction. If you think your ex may do this without asking, then one option is to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A PSO is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. Alternatively, if you refuse your ex permission then she would have to apply to take the matter to court and the court would weigh up whether the move would be in your children's best interests. Your ex would have to argue why it is, you why it is not. The closer connection you have to your children (i.e seeing them regularly, connections through relatives, school etc) will make a difference regarding what the court may decide. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:55 AM
My ex wife has remarried a serviceman and he wants to apply to be posted to Cyprus for 3 years. They want to take my 2 children but I do not want this as I'll not see them regularly. We've always had an agreement between us that I see them at weekends and holidays. Can I stop them going?
Mouse - 29-Jun-16 @ 3:50 PM
my partner and i have seperated due to personal reasons . he is with his current partner and doesnt really see the children. my question is if i decide to move overseas with my girls, to start a brand new life .. can he say yes do what suits youand then change his mind once things can get sorted such as passports/ tickets?
unsure mom - 25-Jun-16 @ 11:58 AM
lucy loo - Your Question:
Hi I have never been married. My child is on my surname and has his passport. We want to move out of cape town to the uk. Does the father still have to pay my sons money every month or can he stop paying. This man has to be asked if he wants to take his son for a weekend. He doesn't visit him and doesn't call. I have todo the calls. I need help

Our Response:
You can check whether there is a reciprocal maintenance agreement from country to country, which if so, would mean payment would still be able to be enforced. Please see REMO link here and a list of REMO countries under the jurisdictionhere.
SeparatedDads - 17-Jun-16 @ 11:02 AM
Liz - Your Question:
I have been divorced for three years and have children with my former husband. My current husband accepted a job in Taipei. I have primary residence and my former husband has parenting time during the summer. He does not want me to take them because Taipei is a non Hague Convention. What are my chances of winning in court?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot speculate on this. You would have to prove why the move is in your childrens' best interests and your ex would have to prove why it isn't. The court will make its decision based upon the evidence passed to court via Cafcass (if the court hearing is in the UK). It may be a different system if you are based in a different country.
SeparatedDads - 17-Jun-16 @ 9:52 AM
Hi I have never been married. My child is on my surname and has his passport. We want to move out of cape town to the uk. Does the father still have to pay my sons money every month or can he stop paying. This man has to be asked if he wants to take his son for a weekend. He doesn't visit him and doesn't call. I have todo the calls. I need help
lucy loo - 16-Jun-16 @ 8:58 AM
I have been divorced for three years and have children with my former husband.My current husband accepted a job in Taipei.I have primary residence and my former husband has parenting time during the summer.He does not want me to take them because Taipei is a non Hague Convention.What are my chances of winning in court?
Liz - 16-Jun-16 @ 12:23 AM
Titch - Your Question:
My husband and I are British living in Sweden. If we were to divorce in Sweden, would I be able to return to the UK with my children?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if your husband has parental responsibility under British law you would have to ask his consent. If he refuses, then you would have to take the matter to court and request permission. The court will then decide whether the move is in the best interests of your children. If you take the children without his consent, then you may be charged with abduction. I'm afraid we have no knowledge of Swedish family law, only UK-based family law - you would have to seek legal advice regarding your options while resident in Sweden.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jun-16 @ 1:44 PM
My husband and I are British living in Sweden.If we were to divorce in Sweden, would I be able to return to the UK with my children?
Titch - 5-Jun-16 @ 5:49 PM
Hii, I have a question.I and my wife want to relocate to sweden . She got a job in Sweden.ButMy wife have a daughter aged 16 in her previous marriage. We plan to drop her near grandparents for a while. Is it okey ??Or we need to take her with us when we relocate? ? I have no idea in this . Kindly please give me necessary details regarding this.
John - 7-May-16 @ 4:45 AM
Minky - Your Question:
My dad was married to a lady they have 2 children both under the age of 5. She doesn't let my dad see them even though he has gone through tests and the children are his. He tried to take her to court but she moved addresses which affected the court date and then now she has left the country to go and live in Africa. We don't know her whereabouts and she has decided she is never going to come back. Is this legal?

Our Response:
No it is not legal. If your father has parental repsonsibility over his children, then his children's mother should have asked for his consent to move. As she hasn't, this can be classed as abduction, please see link here which will explain more. I suggest your father takes some legal advice regarding this matter.
SeparatedDads - 4-May-16 @ 11:57 AM
My dad was married to a lady they have 2 children both under the age of 5. She doesn't let my dad see them even though he has gone through tests and the children are his. He tried to take her to court but she moved addresses which affected the court date and then now she has left the country to go and live in Africa. We don't know her whereabouts and she has decided she is never going to come back. Is this legal?
Minky - 3-May-16 @ 5:56 PM
Hello my ex boyfriend wont send my daughters passport form and never bother with her from birth how do i go about getting passport
Jenny - 20-Apr-16 @ 1:39 PM
Craig - Your Question:
My ex wife, who I was with 10 years and had 2 children with has informed me that after 2 years with a new fella she's planning on moving to Cyprus. We have joint custody and everything has been pretty amicable until this bombshell. She wants to take my 2 children to Cyprus for 3 years. There are many reasons why they shouldn't go, school education and the timing, seeing family regularly, clubs they're with, friends etc. Can anyone advise me on steps to take? What are her rights and chances of a successful application to the court to move them out of the UK?

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if you do not give your consent and think your ex may make the move without it. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back.Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. However, there is no guarantee your ex will be stopped from making the move, but it is worth attempting to prove why the move is not in your children's best interests and why they should stay. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 5-Apr-16 @ 2:32 PM
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