In a recently published case, a judge refused an American woman to permanently leave the UK with her son by a British father, referred to as F.
The mother had returned to the UK with the child after the launch of proceedings under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. The court then heard applications under the Children Act 1989. Both parents applied for residence orders, with the mother also applying for permission to take the child back to the US for a second time, this time permanently, to live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sitting as a Deputy High Court judge, Stephen Bellamy QC refused the mother permission to relocate to the US with the child, saying he did not think the father would be able to maintain contact if she left and in addition, the parents did not have sufficient funds for multiple transatlantic flights. He accepted the father’s concerns for the child’s welfare and stressed the importance of the child continuing to have contact with both the parents.
The judge said:
“The father’s opposition to relocation is I find is genuine and not motivated by malice but by his view of F’s welfare.”
He ordered shared residence, saying:
“If they have a shared residence order it is reminder to both of them that neither has greater rights or entitlements than the other and each has much to contribute to F’s life; to achieve this they must communicate.”
This case should encourage those fathers who suspect family courts will always follow the famous Payne v Payne ruling and allow mothers to relocate to other countries.