Can I move with my child to live in a different suburb or outside of Melbourne without the other parent’s consent?

Parenting and relocation of children within Australia

Some of the most frequent questions asked by clients of Melbourne Family Lawyers are concerning the issue of whether the client is allowed to take a child to live somewhere else, be that within Australia or overseas.

Let’s look at the legal situation with respect to leaving Melbourne and going to live interstate or in Country Victoria first.  Unless there is a Court Order already in place preventing you from doing so, technically, you have the right to go anywhere within Australia.  However, you should not relocate a child without the other parent’s written consent unless you are prepared to contend with an urgent Court Application for a Recovery Order by the other parent, issued in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne, seeking an Order that the child return to Melbourne.  If you have moved without notice to the other parent, and that parent has an ongoing relationship with the child, then a sympathetic Judge would be likely to make an interim Court Order that you return the child to Melbourne and the Court would then conduct a Hearing as to whether you and the child should be allowed to relocate.  It may take many months for your case to be finalised in Court.  The Court would take into account the each parent’s proposals with respect to the parenting and living arrangements with respect to the child and the impact of any proposed move out of Melbourne would have on the child’s relationship with the other parent.  The Court will consider where you want to move to and the proposals you make to enable a proper ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent.

If you know that the other parent does not agree to the move, then the best course of action is to instruct your lawyer to initiate a Court Application seeking permission for the move.  It is far better to be the Applicant to the Court, giving the other parent proper notice of your intentions, rather than being a Respondent to a Recovery Order Application issued by the other parent.

In a situation where you want to move from one Melbourne suburb to another, this may also lead to litigation in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court- especially if there is a shared parenting order in place where the child spends part of the week with you and part of the week with the other parent.  Shared parenting arrangements usually do not work that well when the parents do not have homes within a few kilometres of each other and in the same general vicinity.  A move by one parent to a different suburb can have a major practical impact on child and parent when it comes to schooling, social and sporting activities.  So get the best legal advice available from one of our experienced Family Lawyers before you make a decision on moving.

If you have a child relocation or Family Law parenting issue you would like advice on, call Melbourne Family Lawyers on +613 9670 9677 or complete the Make an Enquiry form on the website.

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