(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Rimer, Patten LJJ, 5 December 2012)
The mother who had residence of the child, applied for permission to relocate to Southern Ireland. The father saw the child regularly but did not have overnight staying contact. The mother submitted that relocation would enable her to spend more time with her child, as her commute to work would be shorter and she would be financially more secure. Plans for the father to have substantial staying contact during the holidays were proposed.
The judge granted the mother permission to relocate but before the order was perfected the father, who had been withholding payment of maintenance arrears, offered to make payment and commit to making future periodical payments as well as making a substantial contribution to the mother's costs. The judge accepted that the financial offer made the mother's position in England more viable but on the whole found that relocation offered more benefits than disadvantages to the child. The father's application for a further Cafcass report and separate representation of the child were refused. The father appealed.
The appeal was dismissed. The judge could not be criticised for focusing on the practicalities and financial security as well as the emotional security of the mother. A further report would not add anything or alter the judge's conclusion. There was no foundation for a decision overturning the orders below.