Dr Ornella Cominetti, University of Oxford
Relocation cases are disputes between separated parents which arise when one of them proposes to take their child to live in a new geographic location and the other parent objects. In the first of two linked articles, we report the first set of findings of a 12-month study of relocation disputes in the first instance courts of England and Wales, focusing on the international cases. Using quantitative data from 96 court cases and 85 responses to a research questionnaire, this article looks at the outcomes and patterns seen in international relocation cases decided during 2012. We consider the effects of factors like the court and judge hearing the case, certain characteristics of the families involved - especially relating to children's pre-relocation care arrangements - and issues to do with the relocation proposals, looking to see how different factors influence case outcomes. We see that the overall success rate for all relocation cases belies a complexity that requires nuanced understanding of the interaction of numerous factors if clear legal advice is to be given in any individual case.
The full version of this article appears in the November 2013 issue of Family Law.