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Ex Wants to Take Child to Live in an EU Country: What Are My Rights?

By: Guest Article - Updated: 13 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Guest Article Child Eu Father Birth

People are much more international now. It is not uncommon for people to spend periods of time working abroad or to have relationships with someone from another country. International families are now common, but the international element can cause problems if the relationship ends and there are children. What if one parent wants to take the children to live in another country?

Thankfully most couples who separate are able to agree arrangements for their children between them, without the need for the help of solicitors, mediators or the court. Shared arrangements are becoming increasingly common, where the children spend similar amounts of time with their mother and father. Obviously this requires an element of cooperation between the parents and usually a close geographical proximity for it to work. The further apart the parents live the harder it is to make sure that the children have a full relationship with both parents, which is in their best interests in the vast majority of cases. This is particularly difficult to achieve if one of the parents decides that they would like to move to another country with the children. Given how easy it is to move within the EU, this is happening more and more. If this happens it is important that you know your legal position.

Do you have parental responsibility?

The first thing you must consider is do you have parental responsibility for your child? This allows you to have a say in the important decisions in your child's life, such as consenting to medical treatment, and more importantly, as in this case, a say in whether your child can move abroad permanently with your ex. As the law stands at present, all mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their child as soon as they are born. All father's married to the mother of their child also automatically have parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers whose child was born before 1st December 2003 do not have parental responsibility for their child unless it is formally granted by the court or a formal agreement is entered into with the child's mother in a prescribed form. Thankfully the law was changed in 2003, to take into account the fact that many unmarried couples now have children, and any father named on the birth certificate of a child born on or after 1st December 2003 automatically has parental responsibility for that child. If you are not named on your child's birth certificate as the father, you can obtain parental responsibility with the agreement of your child's mother or through the court.

If you have parental responsibility and your ex wants to take the child to live abroad, your ex needs your permission. If you are agreeable to this, it is always recommended that you obtain a court order confirming your agreement and also detailing your contact with the child once the child moves abroad. Once the English court order has been made, a "mirror" order should be obtained from a court in the EU country that the child is moving to, as once the child moves abroad, any issues regarding the child would be dealt with by a court in the country where the child lives and not by an English court. You will need a lawyer in the country that your child is moving to, to deal with this. Although this can be expensive and time consuming, if your ex later reneges on the agreement you will find it much easier to deal with this issue in the foreign court as there will be a formal record of the arrangements that were agreed.

What if you do not agree?

If you do not agree to your child moving abroad, your ex will need to apply to court and ask the court to make an order agreeing to her request. Every case of this nature is fact specific, so it is important that you obtain specialist legal advice so that you present your case in the best possible light to the judge. If the judge does agree to the child moving abroad, they will usually insist that the court order include details of the time that the child will spend with you. You will then be advised to obtain a "mirror" order in the country that the child is moving to.

If your ex takes the child abroad permanently without your consent, this is technically parental child abduction and there are international legal agreements between Britain and the other EU countries, which would hopefully facilitate the return of the child to this country. If this happens you must contact a specialist lawyer immediately as it is important that an application is made to court as soon as possible for the child's return. Once the child has been returned, the English court will have to decide if it is appropriate for the child to move abroad permanently with your ex.

If you are separated from your child's mother, there will inevitably be many issues that arise regarding your child. Hopefully you will be able to deal with these between you, but if not it is important that you obtain the advice of a specialist family lawyer, which will then enable you to consider the best way forward for you and your child.

About the Author

This was a guest blog written by Fiona Wood, Family Law partner at specialist divorce solicitors, Pannone Law Group.

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Referring back to the rights about my partner moving to another country with our child. What if she is from the UK and I am from Madrid. And our child was born in Ibiza when we was living there together. Now she wants to move back to England because she can't afford to live in Ibiza?
PedroAA - 13-Dec-16 @ 10:37 PM
I know this is an old thread but wondering if anyone could give me some advise. I was with my ex partner back in 2002, we had our gorgeous son together but unfortunately the relationship broke down. We spilt when my son was 2. I kept in contact with my son, even with the frosty relationship I had with his mother. A year later she met her new partner, and then everything went to s**t for me. My sons mother stopped contact and told me if I wanted to see my son I would have to go to court...no reason at all, but still wanted me to pay child maintence every month which I did. I got myself a solicitor and done the only thing I could, fight her for access in court. This was a lengthy, stressful and expensive time let me tell you. My sons mother represented herself so had no solicitors or court fees to pay, which she took to her full advantage. Everytime we went to court she prolonged the case,turned up late, cried wanting to take breaks knowing it would be costing me more money. She tried everything to stop me seeing my son, told the judge I was dangerous, she was afraid I was going to a kidnap my son and even stooped so low as to say I raped her (this claim she later admitted in court was not true) I had to obtain doctors letters, attend classes to prove this was not the case. The whole court process went on for years. Eventually the court said enough was enough and granted me access in a contact centre. Because I hadn't seen him for so long this was the only and the best way they thought would build our relationship and bond between me and my son back together. Another lengthy process with just two 2 hour visits a month, cafcass reports, some times his mother wouldn't show up and other times saying my son was ill. Obviously moving forward was taking a lot longer and I still wasn't seeing him very often. After a year of contact centres I was allowed to take him out of the centre for a couple of hours.... To cut a long story short a year after that the court agreed I was not a danger, showed commitment and responsibility and was granted access to my son every other weekend. Everything was going amazingly seeing my son. Myselfand my partner had a child things couldn't of been any better....apart from still paying off the thousands of pounds of debt I racked up in court. In 20011 my ex called me to her house for a meeting. The worst thing that could every happen happened! She told me she was emigrating to Australia with my son and her new family, I was literally crushed and devastated. I went back to court to see what my options were only to be told my son is nearly 10 so able to stand up in court and make up his own mind where he wants to live. I couldn't put my son in that situation as to pick , as he resides with his mother and his two other brothers I knew he was going to end up moving. He left in 2012, I had an agreement with his mother that I would not have to make any child maintence payments as I would use this m
Help please - 26-Nov-16 @ 10:46 PM
i need an advice; my son is 6 yrs. old now and his mother don't let me see him, she is married now and has another child, she told me she will change my son last names and probably gave him the husband now...she is refusing to answer and advice me to get a legal advice or go to court...well, I have tried but she lives in Russia and my son was born there, and I live in the states....I dont know what to do to prevent her to change my kid last name...also she wants to travel with her new family, she knows that my permission is needed, but what about if she take him anyway without letting me know....what can I do to preventthis also? I know it's a difficult situation, I need to find a legal advice, I will appreciate if someone here can provide any info. so I can be ready in case she makes any moves....any lawyer? thanks!
joe - 20-Nov-16 @ 4:55 PM
Hi, My ex partner moved from Poland 3 years ago to live in England with our daughter who was 3 at that time. Since then my daughter has learnt English and have settled into school and is almost at the top of her class, she attends a private dance class and swimming club which I all pay for. I also forgot to mention that I have parental responsibility as my name is was placed on her birth certificate. I have maintained her financially since birth until present. Now my ex partner spoke two days ago when she informed me that she was going to be returning back to Poland to be with her new partner and she will be taking my daughter. I spoke with her and tried to explain the importance of our daughter to have the best possible start in life by maintaining her education and development as it is because she is very happy. Just also to mention here that my daughter is dual heritage and one of the reasons her mom came back to England was that she felt that her daughter would face difficulties growing up in Poland due to her ethnicity. Also having spoken with her I quickly gather from her that she has been planning this for awhile now and have even purchased plane tickets for her return just after school breaks up in December. I tried convincing her to leave my daughter here to continue her schooling and development and that because she was going off to be with her boyfriend that she could have her on all the holidays and national holidays but not to deny our daughter her education and stability she is experiencing at this point. Also that she is not working and possibly will be depending on her new partner who I understand is living in a one bedroom apartment. I have asked her what she plans to do and she couldn't give me any answers. This morning I received a text message to say that she has made the decision and that she will be taking our child back to live in Poland. Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?
Albert - 20-Nov-16 @ 12:53 AM
I am married to an Ecuadorian man. He has a baby mama back to his country and she is threatening my husband that she make lawyer to stop my husband from leaving his country. Can she do that. And what can I do. Concern married woman who dearly love's her husband.
Macy Fipe Wooching v - 15-Nov-16 @ 1:27 AM
Hello,advise is needed please. I'm going to give birth in January. Me and my partner live in London but we are not married. We are Eu citizens. My question is : will my son be able to take his father's name or he will be registered on my name ? Thank you! Ok
Mady - 13-Nov-16 @ 10:45 PM
Barrie - Your Question:
Hello my son is 14 months old and im expecting a baby next year with a filipina. We recently broke up. We havent been getting along well. She promised I would be able to see my son come to the uk but she now continues to deny me access to my son. She is very unstable as a person and can change her mind without even discussing things. Communication is broken so how can I apply for access to my son.

Our Response:
You would have to take the matter to court if your ex continues to deny you access. However, if you agree to her leaving the country and she stops access when abroad, then it will cost a lot more to have the access re-instated. I can only suggest you seek legal advice in order to explore your options, especially if your ex is considering leaving the UK (and has not yet), as you may be able to take steps to prevent this via a Prohibited Steps Order. 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 or country with their children. If your ex is already based abroad, then the situation is more difficult and you would have to get help through an international family law solicitor.
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-16 @ 11:28 AM
Hello my son is 14 months old and im expecting a baby next year with a filipina. We recently broke up. We havent been getting along well. She promised i would be able to see my son come to the uk but she now continues to deny me access to my son. She is very unstable as a person and can change her mind without even discussing things. Communication is broken so how can i apply for access to my son.
Barrie - 9-Nov-16 @ 3:30 PM
JWal - Your Question:
Does someone know what I can do if an ex girlfriend moved away to Ireland with a child that could possibly be mine but refuses to have a paternity test done? I am in the US and both mother and child are currently in Ireland.

Our Response:
Yes, dependent upon the circumstances, your ex could be forced to give a DNA test if a court ordered it. However, to bring this to court internationally would cost and there is no guarantee the court would order this. You would need to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 18-Oct-16 @ 11:37 AM
Does someone know what I can do if an ex girlfriend moved away to Ireland with a child that could possibly be mine but refuses to have a paternity test done?I am in the US and both mother and child are currently in Ireland.
JWal - 17-Oct-16 @ 3:44 PM
None- Your Question:
Hi I have a child living in England but was born in Australia over here in 2015 for a couple of years but now want to return to Australia where my son was born and his mother keep him here even if I don't want him to be here and I want him to return to Australia with me as I am separated now from his mother

Our Response:
If you wanted to return to Australia with your son it would be a matter for the courts. You would need to seek legal advice in order to explore your options and regarding whether you have a case.
SeparatedDads - 27-Sep-16 @ 11:43 AM
Hi I have a child living in England but was born in Australia over here in 2015 for a couple of years but now want to return to Australia where my son was born and his mother keep him here even if I don't want him to be here and I want him to return to Australia with me as I am separated now from his mother
None - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:03 PM
Help - Your Question:
Hello, advise is needed please. I have a 3 months old son with an Estonian girl who is threatening to take our child to live in Estonia. I have been with her for 5 years, but since the baby has been born she has changed towards me and our relationship is breaking down. She doesn't have a job and is completely financially dependent on me, as is our son. She has a mother in Estonia who she would move in with. I would be heart broken if she took my son away from me without my consent. What can I do? Where do I start?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you have parental responsibility then she would have to ask for your consent. If you feel your partner may leave the UK without your consent, then you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. 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. However, there is no guarantee you would be awarded the order, therefore, I suggest you seek legal advice to explore your options.
SeparatedDads - 23-Aug-16 @ 2:12 PM
Hello, advise is needed please. I have a 3 months old son with an Estonian girl who is threatening to take our child to live in Estonia. I have been with her for 5 years, but since the baby has been born she has changed towards me and our relationship is breaking down. She doesn't have a job and is completely financially dependent on me, as is our son. She has a mother in Estonia who she would move in with. I would be heart broken if she took my son away from me without my consent. What can i do? Where do i start?
Help - 22-Aug-16 @ 7:55 PM
Jam- Your Question:
I'm married and live in USA. I had an affair with a woman in France. We just had a son. I want to work out my marriage so I'm back with my wife. But on the woman I had the affair with is anger and doesn't afford me to FaceTime or see my son. My name is on the birth certificate. I would like to know what are my right as a father living in USA and having a child in France.? What do I need to do to see my child? Also can my son come to the states to see me? Help A father in need

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice in this case, as this is an international issue.
SeparatedDads - 12-Aug-16 @ 3:02 PM
I'm married and live in USA. I had an affair with a woman in France. We just had a son. I want to work out my marriage so I'm back with my wife. But on the woman I had the affair with is anger and doesn't afford me to FaceTime or see my son. My name is on the birth certificate. I would like to know what are my right as a father living in USA and having a child in France.? What do I need to do to see my child? Also can my son come to the states to see me? Help A father in need
Jam - 12-Aug-16 @ 12:29 PM
I am 17 years old. My parents are separated. My mother has full custody of me and my Brother. We have an opportunity to move from Croatia to USA. My father lives in Bosnia & Hercegovina. He Said he Will not let za go to Americka. I don't like my father at all. He lies and he hasn't done anything for us. My Brother is 7. Do you think we can still move? I really want to move to USA, and if we can't move because of him, I Will block all communication with him and he Will never see me again. PLS HELP!!!!!!
Arzis - 7-Jul-16 @ 9:03 PM
Desperado - Your Question:
Hello ThereI need urgent advise here. I am ecuadorian and I have been living in th UK for 6 years. I have been living on EEA residence permit due to my ex partner. we had achild in 2014 and due to her unreasonable behaviour with my child she decided to take my daughter to live in Spain where she is from. Now I stopped her by filing her a prohibited step order , after two months she delivered me in hands of imiigration as I was depending on the relationship we had. Now I have recieved a ltter from immigration that me and my son have to leave the country. however I can appeal and I have also received the child arragement order first hearing. What are my chances of staying her and keep seeing my daughter. my son would be destroyed if he is gets torn apart from his sister. would it be a vicious circle where immigration would say, we dont know yet what the judge will decide therefore I have not rights and the family court judge would say: your immigration status in this country is not stable so you have not rights to fight for you daughter. HELP PLEASE! thanks =(

Our Response:
I'm afraid we can not answer your question as it will be up to the court to decide. However, the court will make a decision based upon human rights obligations imposed on the state by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act regarding an individual's right to a family life v the Government’s role in defining what it considers to be the public good. You can see more via the CAB link here which gives you a definition of what this means to you.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jun-16 @ 11:52 AM
Hello There I need urgent advise here. I am ecuadorian and I have been living in th UK for 6 years. I have been living on EEA residence permit due to my ex partner. we hadachild in 2014 and due to her unreasonable behaviour with my child she decided to take my daughter to live in Spain where she is from. Now I stopped her by filing her a prohibited step order , after two months she delivered me in hands of imiigration as I was depending on the relationship we had. Now I have recieved a ltter from immigration that me and my son have to leave the country. however I can appeal and I have also received the child arragement order first hearing. What are my chances of staying her and keep seeing my daughter. my son would be destroyed if he is gets torn apart from his sister. would it be a vicious circle where immigration would say, we dont know yet what the judge will decide therefore i have not rights and the family court judge would say: your immigration status in this country is not stable so you have not rights to fight for you daughter . HELP PLEASE! thanks =(
Desperado - 27-Jun-16 @ 4:10 PM
Gemma - Your Question:
Hi, recently divorced and I have sole custody of my child. Im rasing her and my ex have visitation rights.Im thinking about to move. I have job offer in china and US. Can I move to other country? And if my ex follow us and try to do harm us whats gonna happemd? I dont mind he visit us and meet us but I do not want him to take her out of country where Im not with my child. My child dont want that. She is 7years old now.Pls give some advice.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if your ex has parental responsibility (which he will automatically if you have been married), you would need your ex's consent to move from the UK to another country with your child. If he refuses, then you would have to take the matter to court. If you take your child out of the country without his permission this is an offence and you could be charged with abduction, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jun-16 @ 12:15 PM
Hi, recently divorced and I have sole custody of my child. Im rasing her and my ex have visitation rights. Im thinking about to move . I have job offer in china and US. Can I move to other country? And if my ex follow us and try to do harm us whats gonna happemd? I dont mind he visit us and meet us but I do not want him to take her out of country where Im not with my child. My child dont want that. She is 7years old now. Pls give some advice.
Gemma - 21-Jun-16 @ 4:34 PM
Frosty - Your Question:
Hi My son has split up with his girlfriend. They have a daughter together his Name is on the birth certicate.She has texted from Spain which she said was a holiday and said she want to move there. Can she take my granddaughter to Spain without my son's consent ?Pam

Our Response:
She cannot take your son's child out of the country without consent. Your son would need to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if he fears she may do this. 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. As specified in the article, if your son's ex takes the child out of the country without his consent, then it will be classed as abduction.
SeparatedDads - 23-May-16 @ 3:08 PM
Hi My son has split up with his girlfriend. They have a daughter together his Name is on the birth certicate. She has texted from Spain which she said was a holiday and said she want to move there. Can she take my granddaughter to Spain without my son's consent ? Pam
Frosty - 21-May-16 @ 4:24 PM
Please I need some help and advise. My wife told me several times that she would like to take our only daughter to Slovakialive there and I refused. She is slovak and Our daughter was born here in uk. My daughter have been to Slovakia so many times which I can't even count it but whenever I tell her that I would like to us to go and see my family in Africa she already refused and the first day I said I would like to take my daughter to visit my parent in Africa she tore her slovak passport infront of me. The second time I said it which is after almost 4years after she disagree d which cause and argument and she called police on me and I was arrested and charged for domestic violent crime.Everytin she said in her statement was a lies. On the court day, another solitor came there with some documents saying I have been charged again to a family court in 4days time and put prohibited step order on the child.In her statement to court, she said she want to be full custodian to the child . Am lost now and don't know what to do. Am scared that she will take the little girl to Slovakia and I will not be able to see her again. I never tell her that i am taking the little girl to live in africa and there is no way she can go to africa without visa and her consent to get the visa. She is really trying to bring me down conpletely. Please help and advice me.
tj - 13-May-16 @ 7:23 AM
Hallo,I am english, i moved to Holland many years ago with the intent to make a life here.I had a son with a Dutch man, and i gave him parental rights at the point of birth and his name is on our son's birth certificate. I unfortunately endured years of domestic violence from this man till i finally left in 2010. I spent the last 6 years getting out of debt (due to the bankruptcy we had together) and trying to built a new life with my son.In this last 6 years my ex partner has made no effort to have contact with our son except when i offered him contact at the point we broke up, which he refused.I have in the mean time had some issues traveling back to the UK for familiy visits and funerals and such because officially i need his permission to travel. I am too traumatised to contact him. I really want to move back to the UK to offer my child a better work and family life (because his father and his fathers family have had no contact for 6 years) and as i get older i the more i feel the need to be back "home" and with my own family instead of issolated in another country but i would need his permission officially to do so, and i know he would never agree to it even though he has no contact.Can i just move to the UK and apply for a UK passport for my son, or would i encounter deportation from the courts?
SurvivorinNL - 29-Apr-16 @ 4:07 PM
My ex wants to take my son abroad Africawithout me agreeing to it. What should I do.
tim - 28-Apr-16 @ 9:49 PM
my ex live in Italy since day 1 of our separation. now the 2 years have run out and we are divorcing. who decide the amount of money for maintenance the UK court or the Italian one? the cost of living in sicily is 1/3 compared to London.
sugnucunsumartu - 26-Apr-16 @ 2:45 PM
can i move to spain ,the father does not have pr and is not on the birth cirtificate, but he is now in the process of obtaining it his family are nutters hes ok but a terrible liar so i cant trust him he does have contact at the moment
mina - 13-Apr-16 @ 2:35 PM
Hi, my ex has moved to Irland, just outside belfast so its still classed as the UK, i was wondering if there was any thing i could do (i have asked) about getting an order or something that i get regular updates, photos etc or is that down the the person itself ? Despite many attempts, i've not heard from them since they moved in February. Regards
Mrmkt - 9-Apr-16 @ 7:33 PM
#1 DAD - Your Question:
Im an American citizen born in united states of america, so were my beautiful daughters who are both 3 and 4 years old.There mother was born in Germany, due to Un-known reasons she wants to move to germany and take my kids weather I like it or not. she has german supporters telling her wat to do n say. im not married to her. I cant see my self being away from my daughters.(What should I do?times just ticking)

Our Response:
As we are a UK-based site I'm afraid we can't answer your question due to the differences in UK and US family law.
SeparatedDads - 26-Feb-16 @ 1:38 PM
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