Controlling and Coercive Behaviour: Widening the Net
Last summer, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, in MK v CK , signalled a dramatic shift in the approach to international child relocation cases. In cases with care significantly shared between two parents, the courts will now often refuse permission to relocate a child abroad.
Until that decision, controversial case law (Payne v Payne ) told judges to remember that a refusal of permission was likely to have a detrimental effect on the psychological health of the departing mother and, as a consequence, on the child's welfare also. In MK v CK, the parents shared the childcare arrangements, and thus the potential loss of contact on the staying behind parent carried more weight.
The court’s new 2011 guidance says judges must remember the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration, and therefore, the effect of the move on the child. Maintaining contact with both parents will therefore now be a more important factor in many cases.
Since that decision in July last year, the courts have refused more applications to relocate children.
The following themes are emerging as a result:
With the law developing in this area we recommend clients should, now more than ever, seek early advice.
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