Leave to Remove

Leave to Remove
Leave to Remove
Full Overview Of Leave to Remove

At DLS Solicitors, we recognise the complexities and sensitivities involved in family law matters, particularly concerning children. One such intricate issue is “Leave to Remove,” which involves the legal process where one parent seeks the court’s permission to relocate with their child to another jurisdiction.

This guide thoroughly examines Leave to Remove, exploring its definition, legal principles, application process, and potential challenges. This guide will help you understand the intricacies of leave to remove and how it might apply to your situation.

What is Leave to Remove?

“Leave to Remove” refers to the legal process by which a parent seeks the court’s permission to move their child to a different jurisdiction, often to another country. This situation typically arises when the relocating parent wishes to pursue new opportunities, such as employment or a new relationship, or return to their home country. The move can significantly impact the child’s relationship with the other parent, making the court’s involvement crucial to prioritising the child’s best interests.

The legal framework for leave-to-remove applications is grounded in the Children Act 1989, which emphasises the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration in any court decision. The court’s primary concern is determining whether the proposed move is in the child’s best interests.

Key Principles

The court considers several key principles when evaluating leave-to-remove applications:

  • Welfare of the Child: The child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. All decisions are made with the child’s best interests in mind.
  • Parental Responsibility: Both parents with parental responsibility have a say in major decisions affecting the child’s life, including relocation.
  • Impact on the Child: The court assesses how the move will affect the child’s emotional, educational, and social well-being.
  • Maintaining Relationships: The court evaluates the potential impact on the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent and other significant family members.

The Application Process

Step 1: Initial Considerations

Before making an application for Leave to Remove, the relocating parent should consider the potential impact on the child and the practicalities of the move. This includes evaluating the new location’s living conditions, schooling, healthcare, and support network.

Step 2: Mediation

It is often advisable to attempt mediation before resorting to court proceedings. Mediation provides a platform for both parents to discuss their concerns and seek an amicable solution. If an agreement is reached, it can be formalised through a consent order. However, if mediation fails or is deemed inappropriate, the next step is to apply to the court.

Step 3: Filing the Application

To commence the Leave to Remove process, the relocating parent must file an application (Form C100) with the family court. This application should include detailed information about the proposed move, such as the reasons for relocation, the new living arrangements, and plans for maintaining the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent.

Step 4: Court Proceedings

Once the application is filed, the court will schedule a series of hearings to evaluate the case. Both parents will have the opportunity to present their arguments, provide evidence, and call witnesses if necessary. The court may also appoint a Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer to conduct a welfare report, assessing the child’s needs and the move’s potential impact.

Factors Considered by the Court

The court examines various factors when deciding on a Leave to Remove application, including:

The Relocating Parent’s Plans

The court will scrutinise the relocating parent’s reasons for the move, their plans for the child’s education and accommodation, and their proposals for maintaining contact with the non-relocating parent. The relocating parent must demonstrate that the move is well thought out and in the child’s best interests.

The Non-Relocating Parent’s Objections

The court considers the non-relocating parent’s objections, focusing on how the move will affect their relationship with the child and their ability to maintain regular contact. The court also evaluates the non-relocating parent’s willingness and ability to facilitate the move and maintain the relationship post-relocation.

The Child’s Wishes and Feelings

Depending on their age and maturity, the child’s wishes and feelings are considered. While younger children’s views may be given less weight, the court pays closer attention to the opinions of older children, particularly if they are deemed capable of making informed decisions.

Impact on the Child

The court assesses the move’s potential impact on the child’s emotional, educational, and social well-being. This includes considering the child’s attachment to their current home, school, and social network and the benefits of the new environment.

The practicality of Maintaining Contact

The practicality of maintaining the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent is crucial. The court examines the feasibility of regular visits, communication methods (such as video calls and emails), and the financial implications of travel.

Preparing a Strong Case

Preparing a robust case is essential for the relocating parent. This involves gathering evidence to support the move, such as job offers, school admissions, accommodation details, and a clear plan for maintaining the child’s relationship with the other parent. Legal advice is invaluable in thoroughly addressing all aspects of the case.

Responding to the Application

For the non-relocating parent, responding effectively to the application involves articulating valid concerns about the move and providing evidence of the impact on their relationship with the child. Legal representation can help present a compelling case to the court.

Considering Alternative Solutions

Both parents should consider alternative solutions that could facilitate the move while preserving the child’s relationship with both parents. This might include extended holiday visits, shared travel expenses, or flexible visitation schedules.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Emotional Impact on the Child

Relocation can have a significant emotional impact on the child, causing feelings of loss, anxiety, and upheaval. Providing emotional support and reassurance is crucial; involve the child in discussions where appropriate and seek professional counselling if needed.

Logistical and Financial Challenges

Maintaining contact between the child and the non-relocating parent can be logistically and financially challenging. Planning regular visits, using technology for communication, and exploring financial arrangements to share travel costs can help mitigate these challenges.

Legal Disputes

Legal disputes over Leave to Remove applications can be contentious and protracted. Seeking early legal advice, engaging in mediation, and focusing on the child’s best interests can help resolve disputes more amicably and efficiently.

Case Studies and Examples

Case Study 1: Relocation for Employment

In a notable case, a mother sought Leave to Remove to relocate to Australia for a lucrative job opportunity. The father opposed the move, arguing it would disrupt his relationship with the child. The court conducted a thorough assessment, considering the mother’s detailed relocation plans, the quality of life improvements, and the father’s proposed contact arrangements. Ultimately, the court granted the application, emphasising the benefits of the move for the child’s welfare and the mother’s career.

Case Study 2: Returning to Home Country

Another case involved a father seeking to return to his home country of Spain with the child after the breakdown of his marriage. The mother opposed the move, highlighting the child’s established life in the UK. The court considered the father’s strong support network in Spain, his ability to provide a stable environment, and the child’s adaptability. The court allowed the relocation, ensuring that the mother’s contact with the child was facilitated through regular visits and virtual communication.

Given the complexities and high stakes involved in Leave to Remove cases, obtaining professional legal advice is crucial. At DLS Solicitors, we offer expert guidance and support in child relocation matters.

Our experienced team can assist with the following:

  • Preparing and Filing Applications: Ensuring all necessary documentation and evidence are compiled and presented effectively.
  • Representing Clients in Court: Providing robust legal representation to present your case persuasively.
  • Mediation and Negotiation: Facilitating discussions between parents to reach amicable agreements.
  • Post-Relocation Support: Advising on maintaining contact and compliance with court orders following relocation.


Leave to Remove is a significant aspect of family law, dealing with the relocation of children and its impact on familial relationships. Understanding the legal principles, application process, and potential challenges is essential for navigating these cases effectively. At DLS Solicitors, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal support to our clients, ensuring their rights and their children’s best interests are protected.

Whether you want to relocate with your child or oppose a relocation, our dedicated team is here to help. By offering expert advice and representation, we aim to ensure that your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

This detailed overview aims to demystify the concept of leave to remove and offer practical insights into its application. At DLS Solicitors, we support you through every step of the process, ensuring you are well informed and confident in addressing any legal challenges related to child relocation. If you require further information or legal assistance regarding leave to remove or any other family law matter, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at DLS Solicitors.

Leave to Remove FAQ'S

Leave to Remove refers to the legal process by which a parent seeks court permission to permanently move a child to another country. This is often necessary when the other parent does not consent to the relocation.

A parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child can apply for Leave to Remove if they wish to relocate the child outside the UK and the other parent or person with parental responsibility does not agree.

The court considers the child’s welfare the paramount concern, including factors such as the child’s relationship with both parents, the reasons for the move, the impact on the child’s education and social life, and the practicality of maintaining contact with the non-moving parent.

The duration of the leave-to-remove process varies depending on the complexity of the case and court schedules. It can take several months, from the initial application to the final hearing and decision.

Yes, the non-moving parent or any person with parental responsibility can oppose a Leave to Remove application. They will need to present their reasons and evidence as to why the relocation would not be in the child’s best interests.

The required evidence may include details of the proposed living arrangements in the new country, the available educational and healthcare facilities, the impact on the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent, and any support networks in the new location.

The court can either grant or deny the Leave to Remove application. If granted, the moving parent can relocate with the child. If denied, the child must remain in the UK unless the decision is successfully appealed.

Yes, either party can appeal the court’s decision on a Leave to Remove application if they believe there has been a legal or procedural error. Appeals must be lodged within a specified time frame and follow the proper legal procedures.

During the Leave to Remove application process, the court may issue interim orders to maintain the status quo and ensure the child’s welfare. These orders can include temporary living arrangements and contact schedules until a final decision is made.

If a parent relocates a child without Leave to Remove or without the other parent’s consent, it may be considered child abduction. Legal consequences can include court orders to return the child, potential criminal charges, and adverse effects on future custody and relocation applications.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 11th July 2024.

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Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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