Where a child is to reside should, whenever possible, be decided by consent of both parents.
Getting a child back from another jurisdiction
If a child is removed from Jersey without the consent of the other parent or the Court, the other parent can start legal proceedings to bring them back. Removing a child without consent from the other parent may be a criminal offence.
If children have been taken to the UK, it is possible to have the adult who has taken them arrested under the English Family Law Act and children brought back to the island. If they have travelled anywhere else, it is possible for the Courts to bring them back to the jurisdiction under Hague Convention proceedings.
If a parent reasonably believes that the other parent is about to remove the child from Jersey without their consent, that parent can apply for a Specific Issue or Prohibited Steps Order. A copy of the order will be provided to the other parent, the Police and Immigration so the child cannot be taken outside of Jersey.
Getting permission from Court
If there is a dispute over whether the child and parent should be permitted to leave Jersey to live in another jurisdiction, which cannot be resolved by Family Mediation Jersey or Family Foundation, the parent wanting to leave can apply for a court order. The Court will consider the welfare of the child and decide what order to make. The Court will be assisted by a Jersey Family Court Advisory Service officer who prepares a report, having met with the parents and the child.
Jersey has signed up to the parts of the Hague Convention which requires the immediate return of an abducted child to their country of normal residence while custody is decided and to the European Convention, which allows for custody decisions that have already been made to be recognised and enforced.
You can view the full child abduction law here.
Legal Aid may be granted in child cases. An application should be made here. A condition of granting legal aid is that the parties have tried mediation.
If the parties are in dispute over contact or residence of the child, the Court may resolve the matter by making a Residence Order. If a Residence Order is in force, no person may remove the child from Jersey without the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the Court.
Only the person with the residence order may remove the child from Jersey and only for a period no longer than one month.
Children must have their own passport to travel.
If one parent travels outside Jersey with a child, it is important to check in advance what documentation is required to permit that child to travel with one parent.
Some countries requirement written consent from the other parent and may refuse entry or departure without it.
If a parent intends to travel with a child and cannot obtain permission from the other parent for any reason, they should apply for a court order granting permission, regardless of other circumstances such as the other parent having or not having Parental Responsibility.
What is Family Mediation Jersey?
Family Mediation Jersey is a non-profit organisation where trained mediators aim to settle family disputes. Fees are means-tested.