Healthy Living

What Happens if You Move Abroad with Children Following a Divorce?


Getting a divorce is not as easy as some people might think. For them, signing the divorce papers might represent the end of this ordeal – more specifically, they believe they can do whatever they want without suffering any consequences.

However, the spouses’ separation is not everything when it comes to divorce – one must not forget that children and their feelings must be taken into account as well! Naturally, according to the final custody, there are some things that you can and can’t do that involve them.

For example, if you want to move to a foreign country after your divorce, you will most likely need the help of a family law firm to understand how this process works. Let’s take a closer look!

The Leave to Remove Principle

Even if you win the custody rights, you still need the court to allow you to relocate abroad with your children. Naturally, your former spouse has a say in all this as well.

As a result, the leave to remove procedure is very strenuous on all of the involved parties, as it often causes additional fights, arguments, stress, and so on. In short, as if the divorce procedure wasn’t enough, you’ll have to put everybody through a similar procedure, once again.

Keep in mind that the leave to remove is settled in court only when one of the two parties disapproves of the relocation. However, if they both agree, the court will not have to interfere.

Also Read:  The Ultimate Checklist for Moving Abroad

What Happens if You Simply Move Abroad?

As already mentioned, before relocating with your children, you need the permission of either the court or of your former spouse.

If you don’t have any of these and still decide to move, remember that this classifies as child abduction according to a section in The Hague Convention, which is often regarded as a criminal offense.

On top of that, if you decide to relocate during a planned holiday with your children and end up spending a couple more days with them abroad, this still counts as abduction in the eyes of the law.

The Welfare Principle

Last but not least, the parents will be subject to something known as the Welfare Principle. Its purpose is to determine how the children feel, identify their needs, how a relocation might affect them, and so on.

Depending on this so-called evaluation, you might be approved or denied the leave to remove right. In this evaluation, the benefits and options of the parent who wants to relocate will be compared to those of their ex-spouse.

If the relocating parent can’t provide their children with the environment and support they need, relocation won’t be possible.

The Bottom Line

Keeping in mind that relocation itself is quite stressful for adults, it is not hard to see why there are so many procedures for those parents who want to move with their children after a divorce.

In short, if you can’t provide them with what they need (both physically and emotionally), you won’t be able to move. If you do relocate them on your own, you commit a criminal offense.

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Peter is a digital nomad who largely writes from Asia, Europe, and South America. Always following the "vibe," he sets up shop in hostels and AirBNB's and continues to entertain us with wild stories from life abroad.

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