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Parenting Relocation Cases - Part 1

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

In Family Law litigation parenting relocation cases undoubtedly stand out as some of the most complex, emotional and challenging and for good reason. These cases normally involve one parent seeking to move a significant distance away from the other parent, with the child or children of the relationship, thus potentially resulting in far-reaching implications for all parties.



Parenting relocation cases are inherently complex for several reasons:

  • a. Balancing of interests: Courts must strike a delicate balance between the rights of the relocating parent and the non-relocating parent while prioritizing the best interests of the child.

  • b. Emotionally charged: These cases often involve high emotions and stress, as the outcome can significantly impact the relationship between the child and both parents.

  • c. High Uncertainty: The courts have a wide discretion when deciding relocation cases, which means that the outcome is often uncertain and can vary depending on the specific facts of each case.

  • d. Long-term implications: The decisions made in relocation cases can have long-lasting effects on the child's life, making it even more crucial for courts to carefully consider all relevant factors.


The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) governs matters related to parenting issues and relocation cases. The primary consideration in any parenting case is the best interests of the child, as outlined in Section 60CC of the Act. The Court must often balance the competing interests of both parents with the bests interests of the child, which can be a complex and emotionally charged process.


In determining whether the proposed relocation is genuinely in the child's best interests, the court considers a range of factors, including but not limited to the benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents to the practical difficulties and expense of maintaining the child's relationship with both parents.


In addition to the above, the Court would often assess the potential benefits of the move, such as increased family support for the relocating parent and the possible positive effect on their mental health. The Court would also examine the proposed place of relocation to ensure the new location would respect the child’s religious and cultural identity.


The Court must also consider the financial aspect, evaluating the relocating parent's current financial struggles and the potential for better job opportunities in the new location.


The existing family dynamic plays a significant role in the court's decision, particularly if the child already spends limited time with the non-relocating parent. In cases where the non-relocating parent spends limited to no time with the child, the likelihood of success for the relocating parent would usually be relatively high, but must be assessed alongside all other factors.


Furthermore, any history of family violence or neglect by the non-relocating parent would be particularly crucial in these cases, which is likely to indicate that it would be in the child's best interests to move with the primary carer and have less frequent contact with the other parent.


While the best interests of the child remain the primary consideration, courts must balance numerous factors to make a decision that supports the child's well-being while taking into account the rights and interests of both parents.


Parenting relocation cases are often legally complex and highly emotionally charged. At Surge Legal we have the experience in these types of cases and understand all the intricacies of relocation matters. We are able to provide comprehensive advice on the prospects of success of any proposed relocation as well as guide our clients through this challenging process to obtain the best possible result at the conclusion of parenting relocation litigation.

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