1st November 2010
Family law appeal court judges have rejected a mother's request to remove her children from Middlesbrough to a remote Scottish island on the ground that contact arrangements for the absent parent would become "unsustainable".
The mother wished to relocate with her children to Scotland where her new husband has secured employment. Originally, a family judge in Newcastle's County Court turned down the application for removal from court jurisdiction because it was felt that the move was inappropriate.
At the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Wilson, Lord Justice Rimer and Lady Justice Black heard from the mother's family law solicitor that the mother viewed the move as a "lifestyle choice" explaining that she would "rather live in a small community where the children attend a smaller school".
However, although it was recognised that arrangements for contact visits had been agreed between the parents, the court found that the journey's duration time of around 19 hours would ultimately threaten sustainability of the agreement.
Lord Justice Wilson told the court that the children's discussions with an independent social worker had revealed that three of them were reluctant to move away from their home.
He also noted that the county court judge had rightly recognised the "emotional strain and harm" that the "gross upheaval" of the move would inflict upon the children.
The family law appeal court judge concluded, "The welfare of these children required the dismissal of the mother's application."
The appeal was summarily dismissed.