Can I get a child arrangements order to see my child even though I live in another country?

The answer to this question is in the law: The family courts in England and Wales do have the power to make child arrangements orders in favour of a person who lives abroad, if:

a) the child in question lives in England and Wales most of the time; or

b) the child is physically present in England and Wales but doesn’t live there most of the time anywhere in the UK or a certain dependent country: Family Law Act 1986 Section 3(1) (a) and (b).

‘Habitual residence’ is not defined by the Family Law Act. In most cases, habitual residence will be easily established because the child will be living within the jurisdiction and nowhere else.

When a child has strong ties to another country or countries, the issue of where the child lives most of the time will need careful thought. If the parent with whom the child lives says that the child lives most of the time in another place, the family court may need to hear evidence and decide if the child lives most of the time in England and Wales. In this situation, it would be smart to talk to an expert lawyer before starting a lawsuit that could be expensive.


Once the criteria in Section 3(1)(a) or (b) of the Family Law Act are met, the Court has the same range of powers to make child arrangement orders in favour of a parent living abroad as it does for a parent living in England and Wales. The court can order the parent with whom the child lives to make the child available for in-person contact, phone contact, video/social media contact, or contact through letters, cards, or gifts. The court can order that face-to-face contact take place in the same country or it can order that it take place in another country.

DISCLAIMER: All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon the information on this website, you do so at your own risk. If you want to have personalised advice, please email me at donm@queensparksolicitors.co.uk or queensparksolicitors@gmail.co.uk.

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