Family Court Orders, Distance and Child Custody

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12 May 2014
Hi everyone, and thanks in advance.

A friend of mine is trying to leave her partner (not married) They have been together for 6 years, have two children together (2 and 5 years old). She has tried to leave before but he is very manipulative and makes her feel that she cannot leave. He is not physically abusive to her or the children but it could be said that he is mentally and emotionally abusive to her.

She wants to move closer to her family for support but that is 6 1/2 hours away. He is threatening to take her to family court, can he stop her from taking the children and moving 6 1/2 hours away under family law? She is the primary care giver. Thanks again, I hope I have provided enough information.


Well-Known Member
8 April 2014
G'day Robert,

Is there already a parenting plan, Consent Orders or a Parenting Order in place? If yes, then she will have to look at what the Order says. If not, then she might want to make their parenting arrangements legally enforceable by applying for Consent Orders (if they can agree) a Parenting Order (if they can't agree) and it might be worthwhile for your friend to get on the front foot and apply to the Family Court for a relocation order. See the Family Law Courts 'Relocation and Travel' page for detailed information. Most notably:

"What if you can't agree about relocation?
If you cannot agree, you can apply to a court for a relocation order to allow you to move. The Court may not grant permission. As with all matters about the care and welfare of children, the Court must consider the best interests of the child.

What if the other party wants to take the children to another place?
If the other party wants to take the children away and you do not agree, you can apply for an order to stop the relocation of the children."

If your friend's ex is verbally/emotionally abusive, then your friend might to raise that as a factor in the relocation order application for why she thinks the move will be in the best interests of the children.

Hope that information helps.


12 May 2014
Hi Rebecca, thank you so much for taking the time, that was a huge help to get started in the right direction. There is currently no parenting plan, Consent Orders or a Parenting Order in place. I think she might need to apply for a relocation order because he definitely won't let her go. Thanks again for all your help.

Jacob Romano

Active Member
19 July 2014
Relocation is indeed a very important aspect that tends to arise with instances of divorce.

It basically refers to the post separation process whereby a parent decides to move (or relocate) from the region in which he/she previously raised their children with their partner.

As expected, one parent moving a distance away from the other is bound to cause problems – particularly concerning shared custody.

One of the primary reason this is such a disputed issue is that it is not clearly addressed in family law; in other words there is no concrete structure to enforce it by as we see with other issues that are addressed in legislation such as the Family Law Act 1975 (Cwlth).