(Family Division, Hedley J, 7 December 2012)
The English father and Russian mother married and had a child, now a year old, in the UK. When the parents' relationship broke down the child remained with the mother in the matrimonial home while the father had regular contact under an interim contact order. The mother sought permission to relocate with the child to Russia while the father sought a prohibited steps order preventing her from doing so and for a shared care arrangement.
The mother proposed she would travel to England four times per year for 9-10 days each time and the father could fly to Russia four times per year. The father proposed a shared care arrangement whereby the child spent four nights per week with the mother and three nights per week with him. It was clear that the parents were genuine in their motivations; the mother wishing to return home and the father's fundamental interest was his child's welfare.
The mother was granted permission to relocate conditional upon her obtaining an order from the Russian court based on the contact proposals. The welfare of the child would be promoted by the move. He was going to make his home essentially with his mother although time with the father would undoubtedly increase and become a significant part of the child's life. Parties who entered into transnational parenting were aware of the consequences of a subsequent relationship break down and the mother's plans were no more or no less obvious to the parties had they considered when they agreed to become parents what would happen upon breakdown of the relationship.