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(Family Division; King J; 2 July 2010)
The Japanese mother and Swedish father were based in England with two children. Following divorce the mother decided she wanted to move with her children (aged 10 and 8) to Japan, in part because of the recent bad health of the maternal grandparents but also because the mother's life and social opportunities were generally much greater in Japan. The father refused permission and the mother sought permission from the court. The father responded with an application for shared residence. There was evidence that the mother was becoming seriously ill which was associated with her depression. On evidence the mother had done everything possible to make life in England work, but had not succeeded. The mother had failed to protect the children from her own emotional distress. There was no evidence of the mother attempting to minimise the father's role.
Permission granted. Following a review of the authorities and recent developments, the court held that the mother's health would suffer if permission was refused. The mother was to take on the burden of arranging contact and maintaining complete flexibility as to contact in Japan whenever the father was able to visit.
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