A Family Court judge has refused a mother’s application to move to Australia with her three year-old son.
The boy’s parents married in 2011 and separated less than two years later. She claimed that there had been very little contact between the father and his son, ‘J’, for several months. Her plan was to move to Australia permanently with her new partner, their daughter and J. They would join the mother’s parents and her two brothers, who all moved there in 2013.
She argued that because her family lived in Australia, she had no support system in England. She also claimed that she would be able to find work more quickly if she moved abroad.
The father resisted the mother’s claims. He alleged that the mother would regularly cancel his agreed upon time with J at the last minute. She also moved from East Sussex to Dorset and only told him afterwards, he said. Although she later returned to East Sussex, she made it extremely difficult for him to see his son during that time.
On one occasion, the father sent the mother a text in which he said she could not stop him from seeing J. The mother replied: “Oh yes I think you find I can [sic]”.
Sitting at the Family Court in Hastings, Mr Recorder Farooq Ahmed said that the mother “places the emphasis on her needs, rather than on J’s needs as she should have done”. He did not believe that, if he allowed the move, the mother would go to the considerable effort of arranging travel for J to visit his father in England as she made no such effort when she briefly lived in Dorset.
While the judge believed both parents were motivated by a genuine love for J, he ruled that it would be in J’s best interests to remain in the UK, so he refused the mother’s application.
To read N v N in full, click here.