Child Welfare Prevails in Overseas Relocation Dispute

The welfare of children is always of paramount importance in family cases and the Court of Appeal has emphasised the point in a case in which a mother sought to move abroad with her 12-year-old daughter against the wishes of the girl's father.

Following acrimonious divorce proceedings, the mother was granted permission by a judge to relocate with her daughter to her native Germany, despite the British father's claims that the mother was 'controlling' and had discouraged any meaningful relationship between him and his daughter.

In allowing the father's appeal and directing a fresh hearing of the case, the Court found that the judge had failed to take adequate account of the risk that the move abroad would erode the important paternal relationship. Insufficient weight had been given to the overriding factor of the girl's welfare and greater emphasis should have been placed on her own wishes and feelings.