You may also find it useful to look at the Reunite website, and at their recent report on leave to remove cases (not happy reading, I'm afraid): www.reunite.org/edit/files/Library%20-%2...ocation%20Report.pdf
Leave to remove applications can be difficult to challenge; here are some points based on successful challenges:
1. The other parent is acting unilaterally, disrupting the child‘s well established routine, and shared parenting with you has been terminated without regard to the child‘s best interests;
2. The other parent‘s relocation will effectively erase you from your child‘s life;
3. You suspect the other parent‘s motives, as there was no discussion with you to seek viable alternatives;
4. The other parent has no pressing need to relocate, so you believe it has been done to prevent contact;
5. Removal from the jurisdiction is not in your child‘s best interests as they are settled (this word has a specific legal definition) at school and moving them
away would interrupt their relationships with teachers, friends, other relatives, and, of course, yourself.
If the applicant parent claims that refusal would cause distress you must challenge this on the basis of a lack of medical evidence. If they say their parenting ability will be impaired you must challenge that too. We all encounter disappointments in life, but it shouldn't affect our ability to look after our children; perhaps residence should be transfered.
The applicant must have a carefully constructed plan for relocation; you must scrutinise the application and search it for any weaknesses. In particular there should be ample provision for ensuring contact continues. The plan should include:
1. Proposals for the child‘s living arrangements.
2. Arrangements for the child to remain in contact with the other parent. How will you travel? Who will pay for this? Where will you stay? Has the applicant considered any of this?
3. Arrangements for supplying the child‘s financial needs.
4. Finalised arrangements for the child‘s education – is there a firm offer of a school place? You should be given full details of the school including prospectus and syllabus. Is this the right place for your child? Is your child at a point in his/her education where a move will be disruptive? Have you been consulted on alternatives? Were you involved in the decision?
5. Is your child involved in other activities – sporting or artistic, for example – which will be disrupted? Will he/she be able to continue these? What about sports teams, drama societies, orchestras, etc?
6. Can your child speak the language of the new country? What measures will be taken to ensure he/she learns?
7. Registration of the child with a doctor, dentist, optician, etc. Does your child have any special health needs?
8. An account of the reason for wishing to move abroad – family, marriage, job, etc.
9. Evidence of the financial viability of the plan, including job offers.
10. Evidence of the accommodation, including address, pictures and estate agent‘s particulars.
11. Evidence of links to the new country – family, etc.
12. Evidence of social opportunities and network.
13. Evidence that court orders made in the UK will be recognised and enforced in the new country; is it a Hague Convention country?
14. Expert evidence of the psychological and developmental effects of removal on the child.
Get your family (especially grandparents) to write statements detailing the effect on them of granting leave to remove. Will they still have contact? How will it be enabled?
Leave to remove is pemanent. There is a high probability of losing contact with your children entirely (sorry to be blunt, but it's true). Good luck.