The reality of living in this beautiful Island we all call home is that it is just that (i) beautiful and (ii) an island.
This can mean for families when they separate that one parent moves away. That move may be as a result of job or other opportunities outside the Island. It may also be due to family or other ties to somewhere else or a desire for a fresh start.
Whatever the reason, the stress of a breakdown can be amplified if there is no agreement about where the child/children should live.
In the absence of an agreement, the Court has to decide whether it is in the best interest of the child/children to move or not. If the Court decides that the child/children should move away from Jersey on what terms the move should take place.
These decisions are never easy and can have lifelong consequences for the child/children and the relationships they have going forwards.
How does a Court resolve the competing positions and what factors should the Court consider when reaching its decision?
The Jersey case (reported as in the matter of YY in 2011) sets out how the Jersey Court has approached this issue and by reference to the 2001 English case of Payne v. Payne.That the starting point is the welfare of the child and this is the paramount concern;
That guidance to help resolve what is in the child’s best interest can be gained from considering:
- whether the move is genuinely motivated or an attempt to restrict access;
- whether the arrangements e.g. for housing, schooling and employment are reasonable;
- the potential effect of refusing the application of the parent and new family of the child;
- the potential effect of depriving the child of contact with the other parent and that family;
- the opportunities available for contact to continue with the parent left behind; and
- the wishes and feelings of the child (depending on the age and other characteristics of the child).”
If you are contemplating relocating or feel that your partner may be considering such a step please contact us for more information and advice in your particular circumstances.