It’s just about every parent’s nightmare. Leave to Remove (LTR). You’ve split with your children’s other parent. You’ve done your best to stay in their lives. You’ve jumped hurdle after hurdle put in your way. You’ve probably gone to court to get a court order. It’s cost you time, money and heartache already. You are hoping to rebuild your life, to spend time with the kids and look forward to happier time.
And the ex then announces they are moving abroad. Possibly France, possibly another continent. Possibly the other side of the planet. Or maybe you hear it from someone else.
Face this it’s reasonable to feel like the bottom has dropped out of your world.
Because it’s a game changer isn’t it? It’s one thing to be restricted in when the kids see you…but if you need a plane flight and a passport to see them that’s an entirely different ball game.
Of all the times that you need your game head, this is it.
Now of course it is possible to get kids back from a foreign country – especially if they are Hague Convention ones. Right? Well…look at it like this. You know how difficult it is as a litigant in person in the Family Court in this country?
Imagine doing it again in a different language, using laws you are unaware of, that may give ex priority (for example…if they are a national of the country they are now in). and you paying the equivalent for the cost of a holiday for each hearing until the case is over and your lawyer if you have one.
Leave to Remove (LTR) – the nuclear option
As a non resident parent you are on the back foot already even at the best of times. Once your ex has gone…well…a contact dispute in this country will look like a walk in the park and you’ll soon end up with fond memories of the `good old days’ when you weren’t flying to hearings.
For this reason it’s a different proposition. If you seriously think your ex is going to remove your children from England & Wales you need to consider carefully on balance whether you would rather fight a court fight here…or elsewhere. In an age where you have around a 50% chance of stopping a removal it is quite possible you have little to lose.
There are various outcomes in this scenario:
- Your ex is planning to remove your children and you do nothing – your children go.
- Your ex is planning to remove your children and you make an application – you have a 50% chance of stopping it.
- Your ex isn’t going to remove the children and you do nothing – good result.
- Your ex isn’t going to remove the children and you make an application – you damage the relationship with your ex.
Moral of this story? If you have serious concerns you absolutely should make that application. If not, step away from the big red button.
How to deal with a Leave to Remove Case (LTR)
The correct answers are `quickly’ and`decisively’. Don’t push this metaphorical big red button unless you are fairly sure your children will be removed if you do nothing. If you are…push it without a moment’s hesitation.
The practical stuff?
You’ll need a C67. Or a C100. Depending on the circumstances and what you wish to achieve exactly and your particular circumstances – because there is more than one way to skin a cat. You’ll need to submit a position statement too in all likelihood (almost certainly if we’re by your side).
It’ll be an emergency ex parte hearing and should the court see things your way you’ll likely be back very, very soon (we’ve know it to be the next day in the cases we have assisted in).
You won’t be visiting you friendly local court either…it’ll be a day trip to London unfortunately to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.
and where you’ll quite possibly end up before a High Court Judge. Which should kind of give you an inkling of how serious this sort of thing is treated.
This whole post can be boiled down very succinctly. Don’t make this sort of application unless you are fairly certain there is a definite risk your children will be removed; if there is…get on with it. Don’t hesitate.
And the moral of this story is simple. Do your research. Communicate with your ex as much as possible. Simple misunderstandings can be blown out of all proportion. For the want of transparency you can be mired in a court case that only causes trouble.