General Legal Advice on Re-location Applications:

Obtaining Leave to Remove/Application to take a child out Irish Jurisdiction?
AWhere a parent applies to a court seeking liberty to relocate or remove a child/ children to another jurisdiction, the court will determine the matter based on the best interests principle. The court will also consider the best interests of the child in a pragmatic sense having regard to a number of factors set out in the case law. The courts will generally require information on the arrangements which have been made in the proposed new location, with regard to accommodation, education and the availability of support networks. Where the court grants leave to relocate, it will endeavour to ensure ongoing contact with the other parent. It is often envisaged that orders will be obtained in similar terms in the new jurisdiction depending on mechanisms available for enforcement.
Under what circumstances may a parent apply to remove their child from the Irish jurisdiction against the wishes of the other parent?
AThere are an increasing number of cases in Ireland on this subject. At a minimum, very compelling reasons for relocation are required. Flood J sets out factors to which the court should have regard in a ‘leave to remove’ application. See EM v AM (High Court, 16 June 1992 (unreported). These include the following criteria:

  1. Which of the two hypothetical outcomes will provide the greater stability of lifestyle for the child.
  2. The contribution to such stability that will be provided by the environment in which the child will reside, with particular regard to the influence of his extended family.
  3. The professional advice tendered.
  4. The capacity for, and frequency of, access by the non-custodial parent.
  5. The past record of each parent, in their relationship with the child insofar as it impinged on the welfare of the child.
  6. The respect, in terms of the future of the parties, to orders and directions of this Court’.

See also GF v DC (Circuit Court, McMahon J, 10 May 2007 (unreported)), KB v LO’R (High Court, Murphy J, 15 May 2009 (unreported)), PC v PW [2008] IEHC 469 and UV v VU [2011] IEHC 519 in which McMenamin J considers the criteria set out in EM v AM in addition to factors such as financial implications, the children’s views, schooling, healthcare and an overall appraisal.