Change is inevitable as your kids grow and your family moves on from a divorce or separation. One such change could be a significant move across the province or the country or even internationally. Relocating with your children isn't impossible, but requires careful planning, communication and cooperation with your former spouse or partner.
Relocation And Your Parenting Agreement
Legally speaking, "relocation" involves a move that will significantly impact a child's ability to maintain contact with his or her other parent. Relocation typically involves more than moving across town or to the next suburb over, though in some cases, such moves will still require renegotiation of your parenting agreement.
If your move is considered a "relocation" under the Family Law Act, you must give notice of your intent to move at least 60 days in advance. This is true whether or not you plan to take your children with you. Why? Because the law recognizes that most children do best when they maintain regular contact with both parents. It also gives you time to change your parenting agreement with your former partner.
In the best-case scenarios, relocation has been foreseen and discussed well in advance. If you are both in agreement about the move, it is simply a matter of revising your parenting agreement to accommodate the change. For example, parents may agree that the children will spend the school year in one place and summers in the other.
What If I Object To The Move?
If your former partner has given notice to relocate, you may file an objection with the Court within 30 days. The Court will consider several factors when deciding whether to allow the move, not the least of which is whether the move will preserve the child's best interests. Other factors include determining if:
- The move is a "good faith" effort to better provide for the child versus a tactic to separate children from the other parent.
- There has truly been an ongoing relationship between the child and non-moving parent that the proposed move will jeopardize.
- The move will improve the child's overall quality of life.
- Reasonable accommodations have been proposed or made to allow the child to maintain contact with the other parent (via Skype, cellphone, regular visits, etc.).
Our lawyers can help you through this process, taking your case to court if necessary to protect your agreement. While we strive to help parents find amicable solutions, we know that such resolutions are not always possible. You can trust our experience and guidance in the courtroom.
If you did not receive a notice to relocate and your child was taken away without your consent by his or her other parent, we can also take immediate steps to enforce your parenting agreement. Moving without notice can result in serious penalties, including possible criminal charges. We will seek to restore your child to safety and determine whether you have grounds to set aside your existing agreement based on this conduct.
We at Westside Family Law waste no time when faced with child abduction cases. Our lawyers work with all kinds of families in Vancouver, including those from multicultural backgrounds where the possibility of international travel may be more common. We will take immediate steps to locate your child, stop the travel if possible and bring your child home safely.
Get Strategic Help And Support From Westside Family Law
At Westside Family Law, we seek solutions that meet your family's changing needs. If that includes a relocation, we can help. We are familiar with provincial, federal and international laws that govern child custody. Call us at 604-734-7911 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation today.