So, you are planning to move abroad – What can you do to safeguard against becoming a stuck parent?

We strongly recommend that parents discuss what will happen with regards to their children, in case things go wrong abroad.  It is important to go to a mediator or solicitor to record agreements about trial periods, temporary moves or intentions of where the children will reside. Without any proof of intention, it is possible that one parent could be trapped against their will in a foreign country as the children will be unable to leave due to being classed as ‘habitually resident’. This can happen within just MONTHS or even WEEKS of arrival.

This a like a ‘prenup’ but for moving abroad:

Step 1.

Go to a specialist International Family Lawyer or mediator with experience of The Hague Convention. You and your partner will make agreements on what will happen to the children if one parent wants to move back home. e.g. what if one parent doesn’t like the new country, will the whole family return? Or, if not, where will the kids live? What if someone gets ill?

Step 2.

When you have agreed on all the eventualities, this decision will be recorded and lodged at the court in both the country you are leaving AND the country you are moving to. The decision will only be valid for a limited time but by then you should have an idea of whether you like the new country and want to settle down there more permanently, or not.