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Planning to Relocate to Europe after your divorce – now that the UK has left the EU, how might this impact your child arrangements?


After divorce proceedings have been finalised, it is not uncommon for individuals to consider a move abroad. Whether that be to explore new job opportunities, return to a home country or to start a new life somewhere a little sunnier. But now that the UK has left the EU, how might a relocation impact you and your children?

Frequent Travelling

Should you or your ex decide to move abroad, depending on your child arrangements, frequent international travel might be required. Now that the UK has left the EU, the potential for delays when traveling across borders may make this process lengthy and exasperating and may present a challenge to your children having regular contact with both parents. Although this might be frustrating, with appropriate planning and effective communication and co-parenting, it should still be achievable. Having practical and sustainable plans in place will help the process to run smoothly ensuring that your children can make the most of their time with both parents.

When plans go awry

If you or your ex have moved to the EU, your child arrangements orders will still be enforceable. If your proceedings were issued before 11pm on the 31st December 2020, the current EU rules will continue to apply, even if a final order was made in 2021. Those orders will be recognised and enforceable in EU countries.

From January 2021, the rules set out under the Hague Convention will apply. The basic principal being that orders made in countries which have signed up to the Convention will be recognised and enforced by all other signatories. Both the UK and the EU are signatories to the Hague Convention. Consequently, if you experience any issues, such as abduction or your child not being returned after a holiday, a form of recourse will be available to you.

Despite the added complication for travel of the UK no longer being a member of the EU, a relocation abroad does not need to disrupt child arrangements. Open communication and practical planning will help to ensure that children can have meaningful and consistent time with both parents, whether that be in the UK or the EU.

If you have any questions about a move to the EU and how you or your children might be affected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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