Applications to move a child out of the jurisdiction

December 3rd, 2014

Dillon Solicitors

Applications by one parent seeking to move a child or children out of the jurisdiction can be brought under section 11 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964.

It is often the case that these cases are decided in Court as the views of the parents are usually poles apart.

In this article we look at the factors which were taken into account in a 2011 case of U.V. v V.U.

In this case the Spanish mother wished to take the children who were aged 12 and 6 back to Spain. The father was Irish.

Much emphasis was placed by the mother on the fact that she was the custodial parent but Mr. Justice McMemamin pointed out that there was no presumption in favour of either parent.

In coming to his decision to refuse the mother’s application he took into account various factors;

  • The mother’s reasons for taking the child. He accepted that the motive of the mother was not to alienate the children from his father as was claimed by the father but he accepted that the proposals which the mother had presented were unreasonable.

  • Expert evidence. He took account of the evidence of the experts that the boys had a close relationship with both parents with the father being involved in the children’s educational activities but that the expert concluded that the mother’s application should be allowed.

  • The relationship between the father and the mother which the Judge found to be extremely poor.

  • The father’s conduct. The Judge was critical of the father in so far as his relationship with the boys was inconsistent. The father was unemployed and did not pay maintenance. He did not accept the view put forward by the father that if the children were taken out of the jurisdiction that he would not be able to see them again. He did however take into account the fact that the parents’ relationship was extremely poor and that it would be more difficult to manage the parenting where the children were out of the jurisdiction.

  • The Judge was critical of the mother in that she had come to Court with no proper plan in relation to the education of the children.

He refused the application and it would appear that the reason he did so was because of the failure on the part of the mother to put forward a proper plan in relation to the education of the children, the mother had no proper plan involving the father in the children’s lives and he was also critical of the fact that the mother refused to allow the Judge to speak with the children.

It is reasonable to suggest that in such cases the Court will want to hear what the views of the children are.

Cases relating to issues such as this highlight the importance of the couple trying to resolve their issues in a non adversarial and collaborative way often with the assistance of suitably experienced child experts.

If you have a query in relation to this or any aspect of family law please do not hesitate to contact any of the experienced Solicitors in our Group