In family law when a parent seeks to move with the children to another town, state or country it is known as relocation.
What if you need to move?
If your children primarily live with you and you want or need to relocate, you should try to reach agreement with the other parent about doing so. If you reach agreement with the other parent, you should obtain orders by consent from the Family Court before you move.
What if I move without a court order or the consent of the other parent?
If you move without a court order or without the consent of the other party, the Family Court may require you to return until it has made a final decision on the case. If you move and there is a court order in place preventing you from relocating, you will be breaking or contravening that order and the other parent can apply to enforce the order.
How can I stop my ex from relocating with the children?
If the other party wants to relocate and you do not agree, you can apply for a court order preventing the relocation of the children.
We can’t agree about the proposed relocation – what happens now?
If you can’t agree, and the other parent still wants to relocate, they can apply for a court order to permit the relocation. The best interests of the child/children will be the paramount consideration for the Court in determining whether to permit the relocation.
There is no specific section of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) or the WA equivalent legislation (Family Court Act 1997) that deals with “relocation”. Rather, the best interests of the child are the main, but not the only consideration, in relocation matters. As noted by Federal Magistrate Brown in P&P  FMCA FAM 518:
Relocation cases are invariably very difficult for all concerned, involving as they do two competing and irreconcilable claims of right. These claims of right arise when the parents of a child have separated and for legitimate reasons wish to take different directions as to where they wish to live in the future. On the one hand, there is the right of a parent to live how where he or she wishes and to get on with life as he or she sees fit, both as a parent and an individual, separate from the other parent concerned. On the other hand, it is the right of a child to maintain a meaningful relationship with both his or her parents, in the now changes circumstances of his or her parents’ separation.
Relocation can be a complex and difficult area of family law. If you need advice about any aspect of relocation, you should consult an experienced senior family lawyer.
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*This information serves as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. It is based on our research and experience at the time of publication. Please consult our knowledgeable Legal Team for any specific inquiries or advice relevant to your circumstances, as the content may not have been updated subsequently.