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Can You File a C100 Application When Living Abroad?

Can You File a C100 Application When Living Abroad – but Your Child is in the UK?

Little Boys Travelling abroad

Coordinating parenting becomes more challenging when a significant distance between separated parents exists. In a scenario where one parent lives abroad, while their children reside in the UK with the other parent, questions regarding legal rights and responsibilities inevitably arise. One such avenue for resolution is the filing of a C100 application to the court. In this blog, we will explore the circumstances under which parents living abroad can or cannot file a C100 application and discuss alternative approaches.

Please note that Scotland and Northern Ireland operate under different laws, so we are purely discussing a C100 application in England & Wales.

When You Can File a C100 Application

Established Connection to England & Wales – If you have a strong connection to England & Wales, such as being a UK citizen, having significant ties, or previously residing there, you may be eligible to file a C100 application.

Consent of the Other Parent – If both parents agree to the jurisdiction of the court, you can file a C100 application. This requires open communication and cooperation between both parties.

Child’s Ordinary Residence in England & Wales – If the child’s habitual residence is in the country where you live, the courts in that jurisdiction will typically handle any family law matters. The UK court may not have jurisdiction in such cases.

International Agreements – Some countries have reciprocal agreements regarding family law matters. If such an agreement exists between the country of your residence and the UK, it may facilitate the process of filing a C100 application.

When You Cannot File a C100 Application

No Substantial Connection to England & Wales – If you lack a significant connection to the UK, the court may not have jurisdiction over your case. In such instances, seeking legal advice in your country of residence is advisable.

Child’s Ordinary Residence Abroad – If the child’s habitual residence is in the country where you live, the courts in that jurisdiction will typically handle any family law matters. The court in England & Wales may not have jurisdiction in such cases.

Legal Restrictions in the Host Country – Some countries have laws restricting their residents from pursuing legal matters in foreign courts. It’s important to be aware of and comply with the legal requirements of your country of residence.

What if your child lives abroad with the other parent and you are in the UK?

Little girl with a globeFor parents living in England and Wales with a child residing abroad, the path forward involves an understanding of jurisdictional challenges and the exploration of viable options.  In this scenario, you face the challenge of asserting your parental rights and responsibilities when the child’s habitual residence is in a different country.

Jurisdictional Challenges

Child’s Habitual Residence Abroad – The primary factor in determining jurisdiction is often the child’s habitual residence. If the child resides abroad, the family law matters may fall under the jurisdiction of the country where the child is habitually resident.

International Laws and Treaties – The UK has established international agreements with certain countries to handle cross-border family law matters. However, the presence of such agreements depends on the specific countries involved. Without a relevant agreement, navigating the legal landscape can be intricate.

Options for Parents Living in the UK

Legal Advice in the UK – Begin by seeking legal advice from a family law solicitor in the UK. They can help assess your case, provide information on international agreements, and guide you on the potential jurisdictional challenges.

Communication with the Other Parent – Engage in open and constructive communication with the other parent. If both parties can agree on the jurisdiction, you may be able to proceed with family law matters in the UK, provided it aligns with the best interests of the child.

International Legal Assistance – Consult with legal professionals specialising in international family law. They can provide insights into the legal landscape of the country where the child resides, ensuring you are aware of your rights and the options available to you.

Mediation and Collaboration – Mediation and collaborative law approaches can be effective in reaching agreements without resorting to court. Even if the child is abroad, you and the other parent can work together with the help of a mediator to find common ground and establish a parenting plan.

Recognition of UK Orders Abroad – In certain cases, orders made by UK courts may be recognised and enforceable abroad. Understanding the legal mechanisms for cross-border enforcement can be instramental in ensuring the effectiveness of any arrangements made in the UK.



Alternatives to C100 Application

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):

In cases where court jurisdiction is challenging, mediation and ADR methods can provide a less adversarial means of resolving disputes. Both parents work together, often with the assistance of a family mediator, to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the child.

Legal Assistance in the Country of Residence:

Seeking legal advice in the country where you reside can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. A family law solicitor, familiar with international cases can provide guidance on the most appropriate legal steps to take.

International Family Law Specialists:

Consultation with a legal professional specialising in international family law is helpful. They can navigate the complexities of cross-border cases and advise on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances.


Little girl with a UK flagWhile filing a C100 application from abroad when your child resides in England & Wales is possible under certain conditions, it is important to consider alternative approaches when facing jurisdictional challenges.

Open communication, cooperation, and seeking legal advice from professionals familiar with international family law are needed to ensure the best interests of the child are upheld, even across international boundaries. Balancing the best interests of the child with legal considerations is key to finding a resolution that works for all parties involved.

Are you interested in learning more about how we can help with your  Child Arrangements in your Divorce or Separation? Contact us today.

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