Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1704703
 


 



The Need for Reality Testing in Relocation Cases


Patrick Parkinson


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Judith Cashmore


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Judi P. Single


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

November 7, 2010

Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 1-34, 2010
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/119

Abstract:     
This article reports on the world’s first prospective longitudinal study of relocation disputes, otherwise known as ‘mobility’ or ‘moving away’ cases. Interviews were conducted with 80 parents who have been involved in relocation disputes in Australia. The majority were proposed relocations to different states in Australia. In ten cases the proposed relocation was overseas. In all but two cases the applicant for relocation was the mother. Fifty-nine per cent of the cases required a judicial determination. This compares with about 13% of family law cases in Australia generally that are not resolved without a trial being commenced. This indicates how difficult these cases are to settle. The costs of the legal dispute caused severe hardship to parents, with 11 parents losing their homes. In a few cases where mothers were allowed to move, they either decided not to do so or returned within a year afterwards. Six fathers have so far followed the mother. In some cases, non-resident parents have lost contact with their children following the relocation or have had significant difficulties maintaining the level of contact envisioned by the court. In other cases, there have been issues about the burden of travel on the children.

The research indicates the importance of reality testing in relocation disputes both by lawyers in advising their clients, and by judges. The realities that need to be considered are the legal costs both in applying for relocation and opposing it, particularly if the case does not settle early, the cost and burden of travel if the relocation takes place, particularly with young children, and whether the proposed visitation plan can and will be maintained.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: family law, relocation, parents, children, custody, freedom of movement

JEL Classification: K10, K30

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Date posted: November 8, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Parkinson, Patrick and Cashmore, Judith and Single, Judi P., The Need for Reality Testing in Relocation Cases (November 7, 2010). Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 1-34, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/119. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1704703

Contact Information

Patrick Parkinson (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Judith Cashmore
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Judi P. Single
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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