Family Life

Child Relocation Advice From Oldham, Li & Nie

What Happens When One Parent Wants To Relocate From Hong Kong?

Child Relocation From Hong Kong With Oldham,. Li & Nie

Children arrangements can often be hard to agree on by parents, and even more so in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Oldham, Li & Nie (OLN) can help with a diverse range of legal issues related to children, including permanent relocation, abduction and adoption in addition to divorce.

Send an email to book a consultation regarding children relocation from Hong Kong!

Below, Yvonne Kong and Stephen Peaker, Partners at Oldham, Li & Nie, briefly outline six key questions one may have when seeking for a child’s permanent relocation out of Hong Kong.*

  • Does the child’s custody, care and control or access arrangements affect the chances of success in permanent relocation being granted?
    Yes, the parent who has the custody, care and control of a child would be in a stronger position to apply for permanent relocation and for the application to be successful.
  • Whose consent is required for permanent relocation?
    The consent of both parents is required for permanent relocation of a child out of the jurisdiction of Hong Kong. This can be done by way of a written agreement between the parties, which can then be presented to the court to be made into a binding court order. If one parent takes the child out of Hong Kong without the other parent’s consent this may be considered to be child abduction and the parent left behind may bring about child abduction and/or Hague Convention proceedings to obtain a return order from the overseas court for the child to be returned to Hong Kong.
  • What if one parent does not consent to the permanent relocation?
    If the consent of one parent cannot be obtained, the parent seeking the permanent relocation of the child must make an application to the court seeking permission for the relocation. Alternatively, parents may wish to try mediation to resolve their differences to avoid having to go to court.
  • What questions are asked by the Court in an application for relocation?
    The overriding principle is the best interests of the child, and in determining this, the court will consider a broad range of factors, including if the relocating parent’s application is genuine and if the relocating parent’s application is realistic.
  • What factors are considered in determining whether permanent relocation is in the best interests of the child?
    The court will consider the views of the child, subject to the child’s age and understanding, the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs and the likely effect of the change of circumstances on the child among other factors.
  • What factor is viewed most favourably by the Court?
    Having a well thought out plan is crucial for relocation applications. This would usually include details on accommodation, education and proposed day to day arrangements of the child, including care arrangements as well as the financial and/or emotional support available in the new country among other considerations.
  • How long will the Court process take if consent is not given by the other parent?
    It may take up to 18 months for the family court to make a decision on a permanent relocation application. This is of course subject to whether the judgment is then appealed, in which it may take several months for the case to reach the Court of Appeal for a resolution of the case. It is always desirable to try and reach an agreement with the other parent on the relocation to save time and costs in engaging in the court process. 

*This article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice before acting on the contents herein

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