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The Pom Queen

Moving Abroad with Children

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We have had numerous members caught up in this terrible situation. You probably think this will never happen to my family, but they also thought that. Globularrk is an excellent charity and information source to help you if needed. Better still try and get an agreement done before you move overseas.

Here is some info courtesy of Globularrk





Are you considering moving abroad with children? Read on…

Often, families receive advice on moving abroad from the government, migration agents and TV programmes. But there is one thing that NOBODY tells you about moving abroad with your children (and it’s probably the most important thing!): if you end up separating from your partner, or if one of you wants to stay in the foreign country while the other wants to go home, you might not be allowed to return home WITH your children.

Yes, it sounds completely crazy but this is actually happening to thousands of expat parents all around the world. International law states that when you arrive in a new country with the intention of staying, the ‘habitual residence’ of your child shifts to that new country.

So unless the other parent gives you permission to take your children back home, you will need to apply to the LOCAL court to override this. It doesn’t matter if all the family are of the same nationality, or how long you’ve been abroad; it doesn’t matter if you’re fleeing domestic violence and poverty; it doesn’t even matter if the other parent is in prison and you are the sole carer! By law, you must stay put and wait for the local court to decide if you can go back home with your children.

Before making the move abroad, discuss all the possible ‘what if’ scenarios (here are a few to get you started)

  • What if one of us doesn’t like living in the new country (but the other does!)?
  • What if we split up?
  • What if one of us or one of our children gets ill and wants to go home?
  • What if one of us has an affair and the other wants to go home

The key question to ask is: will we both return home OR will one of us be able to return home with the children? In addition how long will any agreement be valid for? (We think 2 years is a reasonable amount of time to see if you like the new country before committing.)

It is VITAL to make these decisions BEFORE moving abroad and then to get an experienced International Family Lawyer (who knows about The Hague Convention) to formally record the decisions.

We have produced a draft contract for you which works a bit like a ‘prenup’ for moving abroad. This means that, although it  may not be 100% watertight in court, it is a LOT better than nothing and if you and your partner cannot agree on the ‘What Ifs’ at least you will be going into the move with open eyes; perhaps you might reconsider moving altogether. As one of our ‘Expat Stuck Parents’ said recently: “There’s a lot to be said for staying put. You’ve got your family, your friends, your job and you know where you are”.


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If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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Excellent advice. Particularly as many done realise that migration is very stressful and we have seen a number of marriages break down. 

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