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Mother allowed to relocate with daughter to the USA

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal upholds decision of the High Court to grant liberty to the respondent to remove her 10-year-old daughter from the jurisdiction and relocate to the USA, on the grounds that: (a) the court had considered the best interests of the minor, which is paramount; and (b) the court had paid due attention to the difficulties in regard to contact arising from relocation, had regard to the contents of the report of the court-appointed consultant clinical psychologist, and granted more access to the father with his daughter than the expert recommended.

Court of appeal - appeal of a decision of the High Court to grant liberty to the respondent to remove her 10 year old daughter from the jurisdiction and relocate to the USA - parents and minor are British citizens - minor was habitually resident in Ireland with mother and stepfather - an access and contact arrangement was in place for her father by virtue of an order of the District Court in England and Wales - mother sought to relocate to USA with her husband as he had a job opportunity - father challenged decision to relocate - best interests and welfare of the child is the paramount consideration - there is no presumption in favour or against a relocation - it is purely an exercise in welfare of the child assessment - a parent's conduct can only be considered by the Court to the extent that it is relevant to the child’s welfare and best interests only - it is imperative that the views of the child are considered and taken into account - care must be taken to structure contact arrangements so as to preserve and vindicate the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent so as to minimise disruption and ensure so far as practicable that the relationship is maintained in such a manner as operates in the best interests of the minor - High Court paid due attention to the difficulties in regard to contact arising from relocation and had regard to the contents of the report of the court-appointed consultant clinical psychologist and granted more access to the father with his daughter than the expert recommended - High Court had due regard for the best interests of the minor - appeal dismissed.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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