Advice Centre

Strategies for Child Relocation and Enforcing Court Orders Abroad 

Posted by:
Posted in: Divorce, Family and children
Date published: 14/02/2024

Speak to a member of our specialist international team of UK family lawyers today on 0330 107 0107.

In an increasingly globalized world, the movement of families across borders has become more common, presenting unique challenges within the realm of family law. This detailed case study, based on a real scenario encountered by IMD Solicitors LLP, offers a comprehensive analysis of an international child relocation case, highlighting the intricate legal, emotional, and procedural complexities involved. 


The case involves a Spanish national mother and her young son, previously residing in the UK with the child’s father. Following the parents’ separation, an amicable relationship was maintained for the child’s benefit, despite allegations of domestic violence by the mother against the father. The case took a significant turn when the mother moved to Spain with the child, leading to a legal dispute over the child’s habitual residence and the father’s subsequent legal action for the child’s return under the Hague Convention. 

Initial Circumstances and Legal Challenges 

After the separation, both parents, managed an amicable relationship for their child’s sake. However, the mother’s decision to relocate to Spain with the child, purchasing property and enrolling the child in school there, led to a contentious legal battle. The father’s claim that the relocation was supposed to be temporary resulted in legal proceedings in Spain for the child’s return to the UK, under allegations of illegal removal and retention by the mother without consent. The mother’s claim was that the relocation to Spain was consensual.  

Legal Proceedings and Strategy 

The mother’s loss in the Spanish courts necessitated an urgent application to the UK courts for a Child Arrangements Order and a Specific Issue Order, advocating for the child’s relocation to Spain. IMD Solicitors LLP’s involvement highlighted the firm’s strategic approach, focusing on the child’s best interests amidst complex international legal frameworks. The successful argument for the mother’s unsupervised overnight contact with the child during Christmas time underscored the emotional considerations at play, alongside the legal strategy aimed at securing the child’s permanent relocation to Spain. 

Emotional and Psychological Considerations 

A crucial aspect of this case was the emotional and psychological impact on the child, who had been separated from his mother and was subject to the father’s obstructive behaviour regarding contact. The father’s negative portrayal of the mother and her family to the child, coupled with his monitoring of their conversations, raised significant concerns about emotional and psychological abuse. IMD Solicitors LLP’s argumentation took these factors into account, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the child’s emotional well-being and the detrimental effects of the father’s actions. 

Cross-Jurisdictional Legal Success 

The case’s resolution, with the UK court granting the mother’s request for the child’s relocation to Spain, showcases the necessity of navigating cross-jurisdictional legal processes effectively. Following the UK court’s decision, IMD Solicitors LLP further assisted in ensuring the order’s recognition in Spain, illustrating the complexities of international legal proceedings and the need for comprehensive legal support across borders. 

Conclusions and Key Takeaways 

This case study serves as a crucial reference for legal professionals and individuals navigating the complexities of international child relocation. Key takeaways include: 

  • Prioritizing the Child’s Best Interests: The case reaffirms that the child’s emotional and psychological well-being must be at the forefront of any legal strategy or decision. 
  • The Role of Comprehensive Legal Support: Successful navigation of cross-jurisdictional legal challenges requires adept legal representation that can manage the intricacies of international family law. 
  • Addressing Emotional and Psychological Abuse: Recognizing and addressing the impacts of emotional and psychological abuse are critical in cases involving children’s relocation and parental disputes. 

Enforcing Court Orders Abroad 

An essential aspect of resolving international family law cases is the recognition and registration of court orders across borders. In this case, following the successful acquisition of a UK court order allowing the child’s relocation to Spain, IMD Solicitors LLP has been instrumental in assisting the mother with obtaining the relevant UK documentation to facilitate the registration of this order within the Spanish legal system. This process is critical because, for the order to have legal effect in Spain, it must be formally recognized by the Spanish courts. This step underscores the comprehensive service spectrum offered by IMD Solicitors LLP, extending beyond the initial legal victory to ensure the practical implementation of court decisions internationally. 

The firm’s capability to assist clients with the registration of UK court orders abroad is an invaluable service, particularly in Europe, where the movement of families across borders is common. Obtaining the necessary documentation for the recognition of court orders in foreign jurisdictions requires expertise in both the legal framework of the issuing country and the country where the order is to be recognized.  

Moreover, IMD Solicitors LLP’s collaborative approach with lawyers in other jurisdictions, such as Poland, Spain, Italy and Romania, highlights their commitment to providing holistic legal solutions to their clients. This network of international legal professionals allows the firm to facilitate the registration of UK documents in courts abroad, ensuring that clients receive seamless legal support regardless of geographic boundaries. 


IMD Solicitors LLP’s handling of this international child relocation case exemplifies the delicate balance between legal acumen, strategic planning, and emotional sensitivity required in family law. The successful outcome not only facilitated the child’s relocation in line with the mother’s wishes but also ensured that the child’s well-being remained a central focus throughout the legal proceedings. This case study underscores the importance of expert legal guidance in navigating the complex and often turbulent waters of international family law disputes. 

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

To find out more about our services, visit International children matters and contact disputes section of our website.

Call us now to discuss your case 0330 107 0107 or email us at

Published by:

Oana Preda -Solicitor

Family Law – IMD Solicitors LLP

Call now to discuss your case: 0330 107 0107
Request a call back Mon - Fri: 9am -5:30pm

Awards and Accreditations