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Family analysis: What affect does Re F (A child) have on the way that the courts evaluate a child’s welfare? Lisa Burton-Durham, chartered legal executive at Family Law Partners, comments on the Court of Appeal’s approach to permanent international relocation.
Re F (A child) (International relocation: welfare analysis)  EWCA Civ 882,  All ER (D) 90 (Aug)
A relocation order had been granted allowing a mother to move with her child to Germany. The father appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, clarified the current law with respect to any application for the permanent international relocation of a child and held that the judge had erred in having not carried out an overall welfare analysis.
What were the key issues in this case?
The primary issue was whether the court had placed too much emphasis on the test contained within Payne v Payne  EWCA Civ 166,  1 FCR 425 and not enough on the overall assessment of the welfare paramountcy principle.
The case concerned a 12-year-old girl. The child’s father had made an application for a contact order (now a child arrangements order) in accordance with section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). The mother made a cross-application for leave to remove the child from the jurisdiction in accordance with ChA 1989, s 13(1).
The mother is a German national who came to England in the mid-1980s. Approximately ten years later she began a relationship with the father and they married in 2002. The child was born shortly after. The parties separated in 2012.
The father reported that the mother was very possessive of and over protective of the child and did not want him to share in her care. The father said that he tried, without success, to reach agreement with the mother regarding the arrangements for the child. He issued his application in March 2013.
In May 2014, HHJ Probyn ordered significant visiting contact. In the meantime, the mother made an application seeking leave to relocate the child to Germany. HHJ Waddicor gave the mother permission to permanently remove the child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales to Germany. The order also provided for
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