What is a Relocation Order and How Do They Affect Families?

You may have heard about parental orders or consent orders from either the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court in Australia, but relocation orders are another type of order that are no less important in their purpose. What is a relocation order, how does one apply for a relocation order, and perhaps most importantly, how do they affect families?

What is a Relocation Order?

A relocation order is outlined in the Family Law Act of 1975. It pertains to the relocation of children to another geographical location such as another town, city, state, or another country.

More specifically, relocation orders are often put in place as a result of a divorce or separation from an ex-spouse or partner whereby children are directly affected. It is in the interest of the Family Court that the welfare of any children involved in a divorce or separation be maintained, even if the wellbeing of children takes precedence over the comfort or lifestyle choices of the parents after separation.

In effect, a relocation order might prohibit the movement of one or both parents if it will negatively affect the welfare of the children. This can occur for a myriad of reasons, such as moving from Victoria to NSW in order to enrol the children in a different school or if one parent wishes to move abroad and consequently would not be able to support the children from abroad. In these cases, the discretion of the Family Court judge may lead to placing a relocation order which denies permission to a parent from relocating to their desired new destination.

Who Can Apply for a Relocation Order?

Either parent can apply for a relocation order from the court. Normally, the parent requesting the relocation order is the parent that will be inconvenienced (or notably, the children) by the other parent’s move to another location. 

What Does a Relocation Order Do, Exactly?

A relocation order, should it be granted by the court, can deny permission to the parent from moving to another town, city, state, or from moving abroad. The decision to approve a relocation order can be quite nuanced and complex, and the court will certainly take into account all of the criteria involved with the desire to move as well as the consequences for the children.

If the court believes that the children will in fact benefit from a parent relocating, they may reject the relocation order request altogether. If the court believes that there is a heightened risk of domestic violence, that the move may negatively affect the physiological and psychological wellbeing of the child, and various other criteria, the court will tend to favour placing a relocation order. Relocation orders tend to be more favoured for longer moves, such as interstate or international, for reasons that are often obvious (yet nuance is still required).

How Do Relocation Orders Affect Families?

Relocation orders affect families by preventing the unwanted movement of a parent if this move would negatively affect the welfare of the children. In essence, they can help provide some peace of mind that your children will not be inconvenienced by the decision of the other parent.

Statistically, most of the applicants for relocation orders are women and a little over half have been approved, but there is no bias as to whether or not it will be approved based on gender.

National Family Lawyers

If you require a relocation order or need assistance with consent orders, turn to the friendly legal team of experts at National Family Lawyers.

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