A mother has been given a second chance to try to leave the UK despite a judge’s concerns that she was only doing so to take her children away from their father.
The case involved a German couple who had lived in England for more than 12 years. They had two children aged four and two who had both been born in England.
The couple’s relationship broke down in 2012 and the mother decided to return to her family in Germany. Her application was refused because the judge concluded that she only wanted to emigrate in order to restrict the father’s contact with the children and to weaken his relationship with them.
The Court of Appeal has now overturned that decision. It held that the judge’s view about the mother’s motivation was not borne out by the evidence. There was no proof that the mother had tried to limit the father’s contact with the children.
The contact arrangements were relatively generous and the mother had complied with the agreed orders.
The judge had misdirected herself on the key issue of motivation and so her decision to refuse the mother’s application to return to Germany with the children had to be set aside. The application will now be heard by another judge.
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