Child relocation

Child relocation is not only about the interest of the child. It also has to do with the wishes and future plans of the parents, the needs of (half) brothers and sisters, grandparents and other relatives. The question is whether all these interests can be taken into account and whether the child’s voice will be properly heard.

Best interest of children and parents

After breaking up the relationship both parents will make plans for the future, and they might contradict with each other, or with the best interest of the child.

And then there are also the interests of the siblings, possible half brothers and sisters or steph brothers and sisters. And off course there is the extended family, that can play an important role in the life of a child.

The child itself may have ties to both countries. It can be very difficult to understand why these ties to certain locations, persons or activities are important to your child. And even more difficult to compare the interests of everyone involved and to weigh them against each other. 

International parenting plan

How can you make a future proof international parenting plan that respects the interest of parents, siblings and relatives, the ties with both countries and the current and future needs of the child?

What subjects should be mentioned in the parenting plan? And how can you negotiate about all these different aspects without making things even more complicated?


If the consultations are stagnant, or if a conflict situation already exists, mediation can offer a quick and efficient solution. Mediation prevents unnecessary damage to the relationship between the parents.  

Posts about child relocation

Judge John’s letter

Judge John’s letter

Ms D v Mr D, Central London Family Court 3 September 2022, (2022) EWFC 164 Judge John's letter to the children went viral. The judge received many compliments for turning directly to the children to explain his decision, and for using clear language to indicate what...

Child’s opinion not decisive

Child’s opinion not decisive

District court The Hague, The Netherlands 15 October 2021, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2021:11036 In this court procedure in The Netherlands the child's opinion was not decisive, even though the child was 10 years old.   Mother asks permission to relocate The mother again asks...

Child was relocated during proceeding at Spanish court

Child was relocated during proceeding at Spanish court

District court of Gelderland, The Netherlands -  November 17 2022, ECLI:NL:RBGEL:2022:6434  - What happens if a child is relocated during the proceedings? On 17 November 2022, the Gelderland District Court gave an interesting ruling on a young child who, during the...

Frequently asked questions

Do I need permission from the other parent to relocate with my children?

In many countries you need permission from the other parent if that parent also has parental authority. If you have sole parental authority, it can still be wise to ask for permission, to avoid court procedures started by the other parent to prevent the relocation. 


How do I avoid disputes about the move and the new visitation arrangement?

You can draft an international parenting plan prior to the move about such things as visitation arrangements, consultation and sharing of information. When drafting a parenting plan, you can also take into account any changes in circumstances in the future in advance.

What can I do if the other parent refuses to consult or negotiate with me?

You can draft a parenting plan yourself and submit it to the other parent and seek his or her consent. You can also ask the court to make a court order on the main issues in the parenting plan.

What are the advantages of writing a parenting plan together?

In most countries, the court can only ratify a parenting plan if it is signed by both parents. In that case, the agreements on various topics can be set out exactly as desired and ratified by the court. If there is no agreement on a parenting plan, the court can only tie the knot on a number of issues. Such a court decision is much less detailed than a jointly drafted parenting plan and is often less future-proof.

What is a good international visitation arrangement?

A good international contact arrangement takes into account: the distance, travel time and costs, the school vacations, the existing division of care responsibilities, the school vacations and contact arrangements of (half) sisters and brothers, the age of the child and other relevant circumstances and the possibilities of maintaining contact at a distance by means of video calls, for example.

Find a lawyer or mediator

For a number of countries, we provide a list of lawyers and mediators who can assist you in drafting an international parenting plan, in preventing conflicts over the primary residence of the children, and in negotiating and litigating over the children in the event of relocation or child abduction.


Language issues

If you are considering moving to another country, where a different language is spoken, you should also consider the problems that this new language may cause.

When disussing this, or when writing an international parenting plan, you can discuss the following issues:

  • How long will it take, before your child has learned that language?
  • What does that mean for the choice of school and activities?
  • Is it a good time to introduce an additional language?
  • What difference does your child's age make in this?
  • What language should you speak at home?
  • How can you support the transition?

You can get advice on this from the experts who work for 'On Raising Bilingual Children'.