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Global Guide to Divorce Available at your local bookstore,  amazon US, amazon UK
Jack Jack the Cat

Child Relocation Post-Divorce

International divorce includes an ex-spouse down the road wanting to relocate with the children. A way to prevent relocation is to be proactive during the divorce. If anticipating one’s foreign spouse may move, put in the divorce decree that the children will be brought up in (whatever the state or country where one is living) until age eighteen. Some parents have stated that their offspring will attend college in the country where they now currently reside. One father stipulated in his divorce decree which high school his sons would attend and took responsibility for paying the tuition. What this did was to prevent his wife from moving back to her home state with the boys at a later date.

In another situation, a spouse may have followed the other one to a foreign locale for their partner’s job. I know of several ex-pat men who were stay-at- home fathers in Hong Kong while their wives worked. If in a rocky marriage, consider maintaining ties to your birth country (domicile). Perhaps freelance long distance for your old job. Have the kids continue connections with their friends and go home for long vacations. Consider renting out your house and paying taxes and upkeep. In the event of divorce abroad, these attachments to home could make it easier to be allowed to move back with the kids. It is imperative to get expert legal advice when divorcing as an ex-pat.

When a parent wants to move across country or abroad, it is recommended to discuss this with one’s ex-spouse before mentioning it to the children. Have a discussion with listening intently to any objections and mention how the children can stay connected. Meet with an attorney to find the best way to proceed. An application to relocate will be filed in court and the other parent has the right to oppose it. One item that the court will investigate is whether care is shared between both parents or is one the main care giver. If both parents are participating in the care – school, medical visits, homework, sports and so forth, then the parent trying to prevent relocation could have a better chance of success. Be very visible to others when doing shared care to help your case.

There are various factors in deciding a case for relocation with the children and the onus is on the parent who wants to move. Has that parent who desires to start a new life abroad or across the country researched what this will involve? The court wants to know if the plan is well thought out and is a realistic proposal. The judge wants to make sure it is not a whim, but covers all aspects of the children’s lives. If a parent who wants to relocate, is denied to do so, will that drastically impact their life?   Please read more