Settlement Agreements and Child Relocation

For those moving across borders with children, the 1996 Hague Convention provides a number of safeguards and rights. It is therefore important to seek legal advice from an international specialist before moving to or from a country with a child as a failure to obtain the appropriate permissions may lead to criminal sanctions for abduction.

Knowledge of one country's laws is unlikely to be sufficient. For example, if a child is born in one country where the father does not have parental responsibility and the child moves to another country, the father may acquire parental responsibility in that country in accordance with local law and therefore a return to the original country may require his consent.

Similarly, if the father had parental responsibility in the country of the child’s birth, a lawyer in the new country may wrongly advise that the father does not have parental responsibility because a father in similar circumstances under local law would not have parental responsibility. Therefore, again a return to the original country could require the father’s consent before leaving and failure to obtain this would be abduction.

If the father will not consent, permission from the court will have to be obtained in accordance with local law before leaving with a child and there is no guarantee that the mother’s wish to move will be granted.

Such matters can be agreed by way of some form of family settlement agreement and our specialists can advise you on the best course of action.

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