(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Moore-Bick, Etherton LJJ, 11 December 2012)
The mother of two children, aged 11 and 5, formed a relationship with an American citizen following the breakdown of the relationship with the father and she sought permission to relocate to the USA. A residence order was in place in favour of the mother and the father had staying contact on alternate weekends.
In the relocation proceedings the mother proposed that she would bring the children to the UK for 3 months each year during the summer and alternate Christmases. The Cafcass officer recommended against granting the mother permission to relocate.
The judge considered that the mother's ability to parent the children would be adversely affected should permission be declined and he found that her proposals covered all aspects of relocation and, therefore, granted her permission to relocate. The father appealed.
The judge had concluded that the Cafcass officer's report lacked balance and had failed to consider the effect refusal would have on the mother. The judge was entitled to reach the decision to grant permission to relocate. Appeal dismissed.