Moving with children

This webpage has information about moving with children after separation. A parent may wish to move with their children to a different suburb, town, state or country. 

When a parent wants to move with their children a long way from where they usually live, this is known in family law as a 'relocation decision'. 

In most cases if a parent wants to move away with their children, the other parent will need to agree to the move, or they will need to get permission from the Family Court. This is because moving with children can have a big impact on them being able to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and other significant people in their lives such as grandparents. 

Quick Answers Video: Moving with children
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Do I have to talk to my ex-partner about my plans to move?

If the move would make it hard for the other parent to spend time with your children and be involved in their life you will generally need to speak to the other parent about your plans and try to reach an agreement.

If there has been family violence or abuse and you do not feel safe talking to the other parent, you should get legal advice about situation before trying to talk to the other parent. 

What could happen if I move away with the children without asking my ex-partner?

If you move away with the children without the proper permissions, they may be able to get a recovery order from the Family Court of WA for your children to be brought back to where they normally live. 

This is the case even if there has never been a Family Court case about your children before or there are no orders about your children in place. 

What if there is an order for equal shared parental responsibility?

If there are orders about your children that say you and your ex-partner (or another person) have equal shared parental responsibility you must talk to them and agree before you can legally move.

This is because an order for equal shared parental responsibility requires parents to talk to each other and agree about major long-term issues, and the Family Court considers moving children away from where they usually live to be a major long-term issue. 

Do I need to do anything before asking the Family Court for permission to move?

In most cases, before you can ask the Family Court for permission to move, you need to try and work things out with the other parent (or other caregiver) by attending Family Dispute Resolution.

What if I'm worried my ex-partner will move away with our children?

If your ex-partner has already moved away with your children, you should get urgent legal advice. You may need to make an application to the Family Court of WA for a recovery order.


Reviewed: 16 October 2023

When Separating

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The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.