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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35050
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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my wife is an American citizen and acquired residency rights

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My wife is an American citizen and acquired residency rights through me (an EU citizen living here since 1992 but a period of 2 years where I spent in Greece working). We got married in New York in June 2010 after our son was born (April 2010). She moved here in my house in Surrey in September 2012 after having secured a full-time job in August 2013. However, she says she doesn't like it here and looks into possibilities to take my son and go back to the States (she kept her job in New York, although unpaid. She is an academic and she took unpaid leave). Can she legally do that? I think it's deeply unfair. What are my rights?

Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When in September did she come to the Uk with the child?
Had you agreed that it would be a trial?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Clare,


There is no trial and not even a private argument yet with my wife. I'm just investigating whether she can take my son and go to the USA without my consent, because she insinuated that she may go if she continued to be unhappy with her job here. This is a remote possibility, but I want to know if this is legally possible. She arrived in the UK in 1 Sept 2012 and has lived in my house since. Our son has been going to the nursery and this coming September goes to reception (we've applied already). She has a work here since August 2013.


I look forward to receiving your response. There are some government sites I found a lot of info about as well.


Many thanks,



i am sorry - what I meant was did you and your wife agree that her living in the UK would be on a trial basis - to see if she settled?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, although she may argue this. A trial period has certain limits, cannot last for 2-3 years, can it? She came to London in September 2012, she left the flat she had rented, put her belongings in a storage in New York and came to live with me in London. We're currently looking for a house to buy to move here, but she hesitates. She has a full-time job here and our son goes to reception this coming September


My apologies - I had a blind spot and thought she had not come to the UK until 2012
Your wife cannot remove the child from the UK unless she has your agreement or an order from the court.
If she does do so you can apply to the American courts to insist that the child is returned to the UK until the final decision is made
If you wish to avoid the risk then you can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order
In terms of what will happen if she does apply for leave to remove then it is much harder to assess the likely outcome - HOWEVER there is a greater chance of your being successful in opposing this than there would have been five years ago
Please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you