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Children Living Abroad

The case of Re C (A Child) concerned a young girl, C, who is 3 years old.

The Mother and Father had met in the UK in 2012 and moved in together.

The Mother became pregnant in 2011, with C being born in February 2012.

The Mother and Father’s relationship broke down in 2013.

The Mother applied for leave to take C to live with her permanently in France.

The Mother’s reasons for moving to France were to become closer to her family who lived there, to improve her employment prospects and provide a better life for C.

The Mother proposed revised contact details.

The Father opposed the Mother’s application.

The Father has been born in Italy, but had moved and settled in the UK 6 years ago.

Although, the Father’s family remained in Italy, he wished to remain living and working in the UK.

The Father’s parent’s relationship broke down when he was 11 years old. Thereafter, his Father disappeared from his life and only returned 16 years later. This had a huge impact on the Father.

The Father feared that if the Mother moved to France with C, there would be a significant reduction in contact.

The Father argued that the Mother could find employment in the UK.

The CAFCASS officer provided a detailed and considered report recommending the Mother to be granted permission to take C to France.

The Father feared that if the Mother moved, this would negatively affect his relationship with C and they would have a reduction in shared experiences.

The Father was also concerned that the Mother’s new partner, Z, would become a replacement Father figure for C, or that the relationship would grow and the Mother would again relocate, causing further disruption to C.

The issues were whether the Mother’s wish to return to live in France were genuine and not primarily by other factors such as her relationship with her new partner, or seeking to distance C from her Father.

The application was allowed.

The Court’s task in the application was to evaluate the evidence as it considered the Welfare Checklist.

It was confident that both parents were deeply committed to C’s welfare and had a strong relationship with her.

It found that the Mother’s wish to return back to France was genuine and not driven by other factors.

The Mother’s position was that she had come to the UK for a short period with no real intention to settle, given most of her family remained in France.

Whereas the Father had made a conscious decision to move to the UK and planned to remain living there.

The Father’s background and his fractured relationship with his Father had a profound impact on him. Therefore, he was determined the same would not happen to him and C.

The Court considered that whilst the Father would undoubtedly be affected by C’s move to France and the consequent reduction of time he would be able to spend with her, he like the Mother was intelligent and resourceful and would ensure his relationship with C continued.

In view of the above, it was concluded that the Mother should be given leave to take C to France.

It would be in C’s best interests as the Mother was returning to her country of origin and her plans were genuine.

The move would also bring C closer to her maternal family and the Mother would feel more secure and less isolated.

The Court felt that refusing the Mother’s application would have a profound effect on her and C.

If you need assistance in respect of your matrimonial affairs, whether this is in respect of issues concerning a divorce and the related financial aspects, children, injunctions or cohabitation disputes, please contact our offices on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment.

Please note that the family department offer a free initial 30 minute interview to provide general advice and guidance in relation to your matter.

Eastbourne, Hailsham, Polegate, Meads

Guy Brown
Guy Brown
Carolyn Richards
Carolyn Richards
Greg Saunders
Greg Saunders
Tina Ripley
Tina Ripley