Divorce is not a pleasant experience for everyone, and so it’s not unusual to desire to move someplace else. Get a reset in life, so to speak.
Relocating to another town, city, or country is easy — until you need to have your children in tow. What does Australian law say about your plan? Can it be healthy for the kids to be away from the other parent?
Deciding on the Children’s Best Interests
Working with Townsville family lawyers doesn’t end as soon as you sign those divorce papers. You need their assistance in many other instances, including relocation.
According to Australia’s Family Court, you need to ask permission from the other parent (or any other person with parental responsibility to the children) before you can move. The process remains the same whether it’s just another town or country.
A family lawyer can intervene in case the other parent doesn’t agree with your decision. Some of the options include:
- Allowing the other parent to also relocate in the same area
- Letting the kids stay for longer periods with the other parent
- Moving to a place that’s still close for the other parent
Otherwise, you let the court decide on your behalf. However, you don’t want to go through this phase for many reasons:
- It can be costly.
- The process is lengthy.
- The court can still say no.
At the end of the day, the court will consider the best interest of the children. If it believes the kids can benefit more when they’re close to the other parent, then it can deny your petition.
The court can also still say no even if it’s the children’s desire to move somewhere else, although it will listen to the minor’s argument.
The Effect of Moving
Even if the court does grant your petition to relocate or the other parent says yes, you still need to consider the long-term effects of your decision.
In a 2003 American study, children from divorced parents were likely to experience or feel the following if one of the ex-couples moved:
- Seeming lack of financial support
- Missing out on a role model
- Feelings of resentment or animosity over the other parent
- Greater distress than children from divorced parents who live close
- Less healthy
- Worse relations between parents
The Department of Justice in Canada, meanwhile, corroborated the results of the survey. It said that relocating away from the non-moving parent can possibly lead to the deterioration of the children’s relationship with such a parent.
Living nearby each other will allow the kids to spend as much time between parents, and that promotes stability. In the long-term, it’s beneficial for the little ones.
Parents move for a variety of reasons. They may have found a different job or want to be closer to their immediate family. Others want to escape domestic violence or live a life with a new partner.
Whatever it is, one thing is clear: it can have a significant impact on the children. If you want to minimise the harm, work with family lawyers.