What if a Woman wants to move away with the children?

You will need to get legal advice about moving away with the children before you move, especially if there are court orders in place.

The court may allow you to relocate if it is in the best interests of the child. Each case will be different but consideration may be given to relocation if the reasons are for employment, family support or remarriage. Usually the court must also be satisfied that the new arrangements will allow for the father’s contact with the children.

What is relocation?

Moving away with the children, to another suburb, town, state or country is known as relocation. If moving away is going to limit the children’s contact with one parent, the Court may not give permission.

What if you need to move away?

If your children primarily live with you and you need to relocate, you should first try to talk to your former partner. You may be able to reach agreement that the children have longer periods of time in school holidays with their other parent and/or longer visits during the year.

If you reach agreement with your former partner, it is best to enter into a written parenting plan to vary the court order or obtain fresh consent orders before you move.

Note: A parenting plan is a written agreement that sets out parenting arrangements for children. Because it is worked out and agreed jointly, you and your former partner do not need to go to court. Unless a court orders otherwise, you and your former partner can agree to change a parenting order by entering into a parenting plan. A parenting plan is not a legally enforceable agreement. It is different from a parenting order, which is made by a court.  You should obtain legal advice about the effect of a parenting plan in these circumstances.

A consent order is a written agreement that is approved by a court. A consent order can cover parenting arrangements for children (parenting orders) as well as financial arrangements* such as property and spousal maintenance (*for married couples who are separated or divorced). Consent orders have the same legal force as if they had been made by a judicial officer after a court hearing.

 If you move away without a Court order or without the consent of your former partner, the Court may require you to return until the Court has considered the case. If there is a Court order in place, you may be breaking the order.

What if you can’t agree about relocation?

If you cannot agree, you can apply to the Court for a relocation order to allow you to move. The Court may not grant permission. As with all matters concerning the care and welfare of children, the Court must consider the best interests of the child.

What if your former partner wants to take the children away?

If your former partner wants to take the children away and you do not agree, you can apply for an order to stop the relocation of the children.

How do you apply for an order to relocate or to prevent relocation?

To apply for a relocation order, or for an order to prevent relocation, you complete and file (lodge) at any registry of the Court an:

Application for Final Orders (Form 1) and
Affidavit which sets out the facts.

If the matter is urgent, you should contact the Court. You may need to seek an urgent Interim Hearing. An Interim Hearing is a short hearing conducted by the Court to deal with urgent matters. The Court will consider what orders, if any, are necessary to ensure there are no significant changes in the children’s arrangements before the final hearing can take place. The Court must consider the bests interests of the child.