Relocation of Children

The consent of the other parent is generally required before a child/children can be removed from Ireland and relocated elsewhere. If one parent withholds consent, the other parent may apply to court to relocate or remove the child/children. Courts will determine these matters according to the best interests principle in these cases. In determining the best interests of the child, the court considers a variety of factors, including those established by previous case law. Information on the arrangements made for the children will be requested by the court, such as living arrangements, educational arrangements, support networks available, and plans for ongoing contact with the parent who is remaining in Ireland.

The removal of a child by one parent without the consent of the other may constitute child abduction. The Hague Convention on Child Abduction applies to Ireland. This convention allows Irish authorities to contact their counterparts in other countries if one parent abducts a child and takes the child abroad. The other country will bring proceedings against the parent in that country to force them to return the child to Ireland. Child abductions should be reported to the Department of Justice by the parents seeking the return of their child.

Various orders can be obtained in the District Court, Circuit Court or High Court if a parent is concerned that his or her child will be taken out of the jurisdiction of Ireland. Fathers who are not guardians or have not applied to be guardians may be in a weaker position to prevent their mothers from leaving the country if they are unmarried.