I Want To Relocate What Happens Now?

Relocation applications in family law are applications that are becoming increasingly common particularly since the COVID 19 pandemic whereby people have been moving for work and having opportunities to work from home meaning that their work and lifestyle is quite easy to move out of the major metropolitan cities.

In any situation where children are involved and the parents either have orders in place already or well-settled arrangements for the care of children, then it is imperative that the permission of the other parent with whom the parties share parental responsibility gives permission before any significant move.


Several cases have examined what constitutes a relocation and this has, at times, varied.  As a general rule,  if one parent is moving more than 1.5 to 2 hours from the previous geographical location, this would, generally speaking, constitute a relocation.  This for example would entail a parent moving from the suburbs of Sydney to the Central Coast or Newcastle or from the suburbs of Sydney right down to Wollongong or the South Coast.  Relocation is generally not constituted where one parent moves from a part of Sydney to another part of Sydney of less than 1-hour travel unless there is an impact on the children’s education or school arrangements including preschool.


Pursuant to the amendments in 2021 to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Rules (Family Law) 2021, it is imperative unless in exceptional circumstances exist that parents look at arranging to negotiate with the other parent via a formal mediation process before embarking or bringing an application for litigation.  This means that there is an onus on the parent who wants to change the well-settled arrangements such as to move away or relocate, to invite the other parent to mediation.  There are many ways the parties can mediate.  This can involve contacting a private mediator in your local area who can generally book a mediation fairly promptly.  For parents with limited financial means, the government funds what are called “Family Relationship Centres” in all major areas of Sydney and surrounds and parents can, at a very minimal cost based on their income, arrange a dispute resolution process which is part government-funded.

At Rafton Family Lawyers our specialist team of family lawyers have extensive experience in both temporary and permanent relocation applications and we also are accredited family dispute resolution practitioners and mediators.  We are able to recommend some good mediators in your local area.

Our team at Penrith and St Marys, Parramatta and Richmond have specialist lawyers who are available to assist immediately.  You can book an appointment online or call us or email reception@rafton.com.au


Relocations are generally applications that will require proceedings before the court.  The reason for this is that the parent moving away obviously generally has a valid reason to do so.  However, the other parent who will be significantly impacted by the children moving away from their residence often quite a significant geographical difference, will generally not agree to the relocation.  This means that very rarely do these types of applications settle out of court and do require court proceedings.  When the matter comes before the Court, there are a number of factors that the Judge or Judicial Registrar will need to examine depending if it’s an interim or a final application to relocate.  The ability and success of the application are unique and individual to each circumstance and the court would look at a range of factors including the overarching principle of what is in the best interest of the child or children as well as other factors in the matter including the impact of the relocation on the relationship with each of the parents, on the relationship with any siblings and on the children themselves.

Other ancillary factors that also can come into play include the presence or existence both current or historically of family violence, support and family support for each of the parents depending on where they will ultimately reside and the impact on the children in relation to those matters.The short answer is that every situation is different and every arrangement for children is different so it’s very important to obtain specialist family law advice from lawyers who practice in this area.

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