By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Relocation on Thursday, December 24, 2015.
A Mother needs to move away with her child. Do courts apply a different standard if the mother’s relocation is to a different country? A British court just answered that question.
In London, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment which makes it clear that there is no reason to differentiate between cases of domestic child relocation and international relocations.
Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal in England, commonly known as the Court of Appeal, is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it.
In the recent case, the Court of Appeal had to consider the proper standards to be applied in cases involving a child relocating within Britain, as opposed to another country.
In the case, the mother wished to move from London to Cumbria, taking her 10-year old daughter with her. Cumbria is about a five hour drive from London, so the move would have a big impact.
The father, who has always had a considerable involvement, opposed the relocation. The CAFCASS officer (sort of a social investigator) assigned to the case recommended against relocation.
The trial court granted relocation, placing a lot of emphasis on the 10-year old’s preference. The court ordered timesharing with the father on alternate weekends between Cumbria and London, plus daily contact by phone, and holidays were divided equally.
Domestic relocation cases and international relocation cases have historically been kept separate in Britain, and the courts approach them differently.
In this case, the court held that the same welfare principles dictate the same result in internal relocation cases as it does in international relocation cases.
In the appeal, one parent argued that should not be the binding legal principle, but the best interests of the child should, irrespective of whether the relocation is internal or external.
Although the problems may be worse in cases of external relocation, serious disruption can be caused to established arrangements in situations of moves within the UK.
I’ve written about relocation many times. Florida’s relocation laws are slightly different. Florida has a multi-factor test the court considers to determine the best interest of the child.
There is no longer a legal presumption in favor or against relocations. Instead, Florida courts have to evaluate several factors such as:
The age of the child
The child’s preference
The reasons for moving
History of drug abuse or domestic violence
Whether they are domestic or international, relocation cases are very emotional, fact intensive, require a lot of work, and are very high stakes.
The court decision In Re C is available here.