CONTACT/RELOCATION: Re F and H (Children) [2007] EWCA Civ 692

07 JUN 2007

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Arden LJJ, Hedley J; 7 June 2007)

The parties married in September 2001 and their child was born in January 2002 (the mother also had another child from a previous relationship). The parties separated shortly afterwards. The mother applied to relocate with the children to the USA, her home country. Permission to relocate was granted, with the judge emphasising that the children would have a six week summer holiday with the father before this. The father appealed on the basis that the judge was wrong to accept the mother's proposals when there was no information as to the schools the children would attend in the USA or as to how the mother would provide for them there, and wrong to find that there would be a serious impact on the mother if permission was refused.

The appeal would be dismissed. In the case of cross-border family creation where the primary carer was returning to a completely familiar environment, the bar was set far lower than in a case where the applicant was pursuing a dream in an unknown and untried environment. It was even lower where the proposal was to return to a completely familiar home life after a brief absence (six years in this case). The judge had directed herself correctly and her findings that the mother's proposals were acceptable and that a refusal would have a negative effect on her and the children were not open to challenge.

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