When you separate from the other parent of your child, the process of starting your life adventure over may involve the desire or necessity to relocate. If you are thinking of moving interstate or internationally you may be heading into a maze of emotional, legal and practical challenges.  Whether you or the other parent is considering relocating with your child, there may be complex legal obligations to fulfil, particularly if you and your child’s other parent share parental responsibility. If you, the other parent, and your child live in Australia, it is crucial for you to understand your rights and explore family law solutions that protect your interests as well as prioritising the best interests of your child.

This in-depth guide on relocating with your child after separation in Australia provides essential insights into the legal aspects of relocation, the factors considered by the court when assessing relocation disputes, and potential options for reaching an agreement. If you are thinking about relocating, it is particularly important for you to collaborate with highly experienced legal professionals such as our Anumis Legal family law dream team to make sure that your proposed move meets your legal obligations and is in the best interests of your child in your circumstances.

This comprehensive guide aims to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your relocation plans while fulfilling your obligations to safeguard your child’s welfare and maintain the meaningful healthy ongoing relationships with both parents where it is safe to do so. Make sure you are well informed and that you seek appropriate legal advice specific to your circumstances in anticipation of your proposed relocation. Relocation with your child is a significant decision and one that requires access to practical, strategic, and streetwise legal advice tailored to your specific family law needs, ensuring you a smoother transition during this challenging period.

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Understanding Parental Responsibility

In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) emphasises the concept of shared parental responsibility when a relationship involving children breaks down. This means that both parents have an ongoing duty to make vital decisions concerning their children’s care, welfare, and development jointly. Parental responsibility extends to matters such as relocation, and a parent seeking to move with their child to another city, state, or even country may require the consent of the other parent or the permission of the Federal Circuit and Family Court.


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Consent Orders and Parenting Agreements

If you are separated, then relocation with your child may be agreed upon between you and the child’s other parent, either informally or through a carefully drafted parenting agreement. However, it is advisable to formalise such agreements through consent orders. These legally enforceable documents clearly outline the terms and conditions of the relocation, ensuring that both parties’ rights and obligations are protected.

To obtain consent orders, separated parents must submit a joint application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. The court will then assess whether the proposed relocation agreement is in the best interests of the child. If approved, the consent orders hold the same weight as a court order and breaching them may carry serious legal consequences.

The Role of Mediation in Resolving Relocation Disputes

If parents are unable to reach an agreement on the proposed relocation, they may be required to participate in Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) or mediation. FDR involves a neutral third party, typically a qualified mediator or Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), who facilitates communication between parents and assists them in exploring potential solutions in the best interests of the child.

While engaging in FDR, parents have the opportunity to communicate their concerns, hopes and needs in a structured, respectful, and safe environment. The mediator will guide the discussion and help identify common ground, enabling parents to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed relocation and work towards a compromise that is acceptable to both.


Court Intervention in Relocation Disputes

If mediation and/or FDR are unsuccessful, or the relocation is contested, the parent seeking to relocate may need to apply to the court for a relocation order. The court will then conduct a hearing to examine the specific circumstances of the case and decide on whether you or the child’s other parent can relocate with the child, based on the best interests of the child.

Examples of the factors the court may consider

1. The Best Interests of the Child

Central to the court’s decision-making process is the requirement to prioritise the best interests of the child. This involves considering their physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs, along with the potential long-term repercussions of the relocation.

2. The Reason for the Proposed Relocation

The court will examine the motivation for the move, considering factors such as the parent’s employment prospects, improved lifestyle and living conditions, support networks, and any other circumstances that may enhance the child’s wellbeing.

3. Impact on the Relationship between the Non-Relocating Parent and the Child

The court will also assess the impact of the relocation on the non-moving parent’s ability to maintain an active and meaningful relationship with their child. The court takes into account the child’s age, emotional attachments, and any potential financial or logistical challenges associated with maintaining ongoing contact.

4. The Child’s Wishes

Depending on the child’s age, maturity, and level of understanding, the court may give significant weight to their views and preferences regarding the proposed relocation. In some cases, the court may appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) to represent the child’s best interests and ensure their perspective is considered.

Relocation and working with experienced Legal Professionals

Whether you or the other parent of your child is considering relocating for personal or professional reasons, your decision is likely complex and emotionally charged. The ramifications for you and your family are significant. It’s a no-brainer to engage experienced family law professionals to assist, advise and support you. The compassionate, seasoned family law team at Anumis Legal, can provide you with calm direction and steady legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances and family law needs.

When you are navigating separation-related issues astute legal support can prove essential to navigate your consent orders, Family Dispute Resolution, and court applications. Additionally, skilled legal professionals can advocate on your behalf in negotiations and court proceedings, ensuring your rights and the best interests of your child are upheld throughout the relocation process.

Achieving Positive Outcomes in Relocation Matters

Navigating the challenges of relocating with your child following separation in Australia requires a thoughtful and strategic approach centred on the best interests of the child. If you want to explore all of the avenues available to you and find a solution that’s right for you and your child, then you can lean into the expertise of the Anumis Legal Family Law Dream team who are experienced legal professionals here to support you to decipher your legal obligations and family law solutions.

In Summary

If you are thinking about relocating with your child or your child’s other parent is considering relocating, then Anumis Legal will guide you through the complexities of your relocation matter. The Anumis Legal Dream team is here to give you practical advice, empathetic support, and expert representation tailored to your unique situation. Reach out to our dedicated family law dream team today.

Take your next step towards achieving a resolution that prioritises your child’s well-being and fosters healthy, ongoing parent-child relationships. The Anumis Legal Family Law Dream team are here to help you navigate your most challenging transitions with confidence and compassion. For your complimentary chat with our expert family lawyers, call 07 5455 6347 or email admin@anumis.com.au now. We look forward to assisting you.

If you’re looking for a family lawyer on the Sunshine Coast, check out our family law page to learn more about our services.


Nadine Love

Nadine Love is a lawyer and part of “the dream team” at Anumis Legal. She completed her law degree at Southern Cross University and received the New South Wales Bar Association Prize for Evidence and Civil Litigation. In addition to her passion for family law and therapeutic jurisprudence Nadine is also a celebrated international author, personal & business coach, drama therapist and motivational mentor. Nadine’s interests encompass swimming and walking in the rainforest with golden retriever Anu, and Australian Shepherds, Lex, and Onyx. She combines her strengths of advocacy, empathy and out-of-the box problem solving to support her clients to achieve their best legal outcomes.

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