Child arrangements between international couples
Contact and child arrangements can seem daunting even in the most amicable of divorces and separations but when the couple involved live or propose to live in separate countries the issue becomes ever more complicated. The legalities involved in relocating abroad with a child would depend on where the children currently live and where the divorce and any subsequent orders were effected.
In England before a child can be taken to live abroad where the parents are not in agreement, a court would need to decide whether such a move would be in the child’s best interests and what effect the loss of significant contact with the other parent would have on them. Whatever the intention an international move would make shared care more difficult. The court would consider the child’s continuing education and welfare as well as their wishes and feelings. It would also look at the reason for the move and the support the family would have in the country they were relocating to.
Flexibility and co-operation would be essential components in such circumstances and an absolute intention to put the child’s wellbeing first. Arrangements would need to be less rigid than if both parents live in the same country allowing easy visits from the absent parent.
Technology such as FaceTime could also play a part in continuing contact with the absent parent.
Child arrangements over Christmas
A much simpler issue but often as emotive is contact over the Christmas season. It is usual for Christmas and other holidays to be negotiated when contact arrangements are finalised during divorce or separation processes but sometimes the process has not yet reached that stage, arrangements need to change or arguments still ensue.
It may seem like an ideal solution to share the day with the children spending part of the day with each of them but when the long awaited day arrives, presents unwrapped and children happily engrossed playing with them, parents should ask themselves if it is then fair to uproot them and move them to the other parent’s home which may involve a long car journey. Looking at your plans from your child’s perspective may help you to understand the practicalities and lead to a happier and more relaxed day for you all. Using Boxing Day as a ‘second’ Christmas day may be a better solution. The focus must always be the child and their happiness.
It is not always possible to come to an agreement and legal advice may be required. In extreme cases a Child Arrangement Order may need to be obtained and therefore action should be taken as early as possible.
Our expert family lawyers can advise on all aspects of children act matters.
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