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Relocation with children after separation

After a separation it may happen that one of the parents would like to move with the children as a result of, for example, getting a new job or partner. The lawyers at SILK can help you if you have the desire to move, or if you wish to oppose a planned move of your ex-partner.

Parental authority and relocation

The first step is to determine whether there is joint parental authority. The answer to that question determines whether a parent can relocate with minor children without consent of the other parent.

When there is joint parental authority this means that the parents must decide together on all important decisions in the children’s lives. If one parent wants to relocate with the children, the permission of the other parent is needed.

If there is no joint parental authority, this means that the custodial parent does not need the permission of the other parent to relocate with the children.

Maximum distance between separated parents

The permission of the other parent is not needed for every move. In principle it should be a move that has an impact on the way in which you exercise joint parental authority.

A relocation within the residence or at a small distance from the old residence which does not change the care arrangement and, for example, the care/school for the children, is considered to be allowed without permission of the other parent. This is unless you have made arrangements in a

parenting plan where for example a certain number of kilometers has been agreed upon within which you are allowed to move without the permission of the other partner.

Based on case law it is not clear what the maximum distance is within which a move is allowed or not allowed without permission. This has to be decided on a case by case basis and depends on many factors such as the age of the children, the division of the care, any agreements in the parenting plan and so on.

What if you cannot work it out together?

It may happen that you are not able to work it out together as parents. The consent of the other parent can in that case be replaced by the consent of the judge. The dispute that you have as parents can be brought before the court on the grounds of Article 1:253a of the Civil Code.

The request for granting substitute permission to move is assessed by the judge using the following criteria developed in case law:

  • • The need to move;
  • • The extent to which the move has been thought through and prepared;
  • • The alternatives and measures offered by the moving parent to mitigate and/or compensate for the effects of the move on the minor and the other parent;
  • • The extent to which the parents are able to communicate and consult with each other;
  • • The rights of the other parent and the minor to undiminished contact with each other in their familiar environment;
  • • The division of care responsibilities and continuity of care;
  • • The frequency of contact between the minor and the other parent before and after the move;
  • • The age of the minor, his/her opinion and the extent to which the minor is rooted in his/her environment or is extra used to moving;
  • • The (extra) costs of the visitation after the move.


The judge will consider each of the above mentioned criteria and how it should be assessed in a specific case. An important element in this is that the parent who wishes to relocate has prepared this move as well as possible. Where will the parent live with the children? Where will the children attend school? What is the effect of the move on the care arrangement and what does this mean for the other parent? It is also important that there is an economic or social emotional need to move.

All in all the judge will look at all the circumstances of the case so it is of crucial importance that when filing a request with the judge all the above points are considered.

Specialists in relocation matters

Are you planning to relocate with minor children after separation or do you wish to prevent a planned relocation by your ex-partner? The lawyers at SILK specialize in handling relocation cases. They have extensive experience in litigating about these issues and will be happy to provide you with personal advice.

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Coen van den End


Margreet Ruijgrok


Sabrina de Jong


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