What to consider before moving abroad with your child
Moving abroad may seem like a tempting possibility to many professionals. Warmer weather, a different culture and a plethora of exciting opportunities can be just some of the temptations turning us working women to look at moving abroad. But once there are children involved, moving abroad becomes a much more complex issue – especially if the child’s parents are no longer together.
Cases such as the situation Lisa, 42, found herself faced with, show the relocation of children abroad can be quite complicated. Of course, all cases aren’t like Lisa’s (thank God!) but despite this, it is still important that you as a parent consider all of the possibilities before starting a new life abroad with your little ones. Below, we have looked at the considerations you should make.
One of the main things to consider when thinking about moving abroad is the possible language barrier you may be faced with. While many people learn English at school age, this will not be enough to get you through living in another country. If you are considering moving to a foreign country such as Spain or Italy you will need to learn the language and this can be trickier than you think as many countries have different dialect depending on what region you are in, much the same as England has a variety of regional dialects and accents. Your child will also be expected to learn this new language and the older they are, the more difficult they may find this. Learning the language of the country you intend to move to is vital for any child of school age or they may miss out on vital parts of their education.
Education in different countries is likely to vary dramatically from the standard education you expect from schools in England and the US. While the basics of Mathematics and Science may be the same, other subjects are likely to be much different. If you are thinking of moving abroad with your child then you must put into consideration their education. Will there be a space for them at the local school? Will they have a firm enough grasp of any new language in order to understand the teachers? If they are not going to be attending school, will you have the means to be able to homeschool your child? These are all questions you will need to consider before deciding to move abroad with your child as an education is a vital part of their formative years.
One of the biggest attractions of moving abroad is the possibility of a warmer climate. Getting away from the damp and cold of the English climate is a dream many people have. Moving somewhere warm and sunny may be ideal for an adult however children cope completely differently with heat and humidity. Many children, especially young children and babies cannot yet regulate their own temperature and so moving them to a much warmer climate may be detrimental to their health. As an adult you can help to cool yourself down when too hot but younger children cannot do this if they are not used to warmer weather.
There are plenty of things to consider when moving abroad with a child but there is even more to think about when the parents of a child are no longer together. Everyone with parental responsibility must agree to any move abroad before a child can leave the country. This may often cause problems as it is usually unlikely that the parent who is remaining in the country will agree to their child moving abroad.
When permission to remove the child from the country is not given by the other person with parental responsibility then the parent wishing to move abroad can apply to the courts for a relocation application or an application for leave to remove. The courts will look at several things before deciding whether to grant permission for the child to leave the country with the welfare of the child being of paramount consideration.
Like the case with Lisa mentioned in the article linked above, if a parent should take their child to live abroad without proper consent then this is considered abduction, even though they are the mother or father.
There has been an increase in the number of parents taking their children to live abroad over recent years. According to the Freedom of Information Act, 477 cases were reported in 2014, however the charity Reunite International believes this to be higher, having taken 17,000 calls in 2014.
While popular opinion is that it is mainly fathers who take their children abroad it is not always the case. For example, Ami (name changed to protect her identity) took her son and moved back to Bangalore to live with her parents when her marriage broke down. She claimed her husband became controlling and isolated her and she was concerned he would take her son and had nowhere else to turn.
No one other than those inside the relationship truly knows the real reason why parents take their children abroad without permission, but due to the increase in cross border relationships and the ease of travel, the number of parental abductions is on the rise.
If you’re considering moving abroad with your child, then seek out the correct permissions to remove your child from their home country, otherwise you could end up having to put your child through the upheaval of not only having to return to the UK, but also the possibility of a court case against you, the removing parent. It’s always best to try and resolve any familial conflict amicably before you travel, but if you’re struggling, there are legal ways to go about moving you and your child abroad.
By: Dean Ronnie