Following a separation or divorce, it’s only natural to want a fresh beginning – both for you and your child. Often, that fresh beginning will involve uprooting and moving to a new community; putting some distance between you and painful memories. As family lawyers, we often field questions from clients asking us about the legalities of moving with a child following a separation.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics involved in this process, and what the legal obligations are of moving a child following a separation.
What the Law Tells Us About Moving
BC’s Family Law Act, specifically sections 65-71, covers this topic in great detail. Depending on the circumstances, section 46 may apply instead. It defines “relocation,” as a change in the location of the residence of a child or child’s guardian that can reasonably be expected to have a significant impact on the child’s relationship with a guardian, or one or more persons having a significant role in the child’s life.
The Family Law Act then stipulates that in some circumstances the moving party must give at least 60 days’ written notice to the other party regarding the move. This is a mandatory requirement and should consist of a letter or email, rather than more informal communication forms like text messaging.
The letter or email giving notice should include the following details:
- The date of the relocation
- Where you’re relocating to
- The living arrangements once you arrive
- Educational arrangements for the child
- Your recommendation for a parenting schedule following the move
Once this notice has been sent, the other party has two options in the eyes of the law. They can either give their approval for the move, or, they can oppose the move. Let’s examine what happens in each scenario.
If the other party agrees to the move, great. There are still some details it’s important to work out. The terms of the move should be formalized within a court order or legal document. This step is important as it prevents the move being used in potential future disagreements. The team of family law experts at Westside Family Law will be happy to help you draft this document if needed.
Depending on the circumstances of the separation, the other party may not be inclined to give their blessing to the move. When this situation arises, it becomes an issue for the courts. Whether the case ends up in front of the Provincial Court or Supreme Court of BC, will depend upon the history of the separation and whether any complex litigation has already occurred. Again, our team of family law experts are standing by to assist and provide support at this juncture.
Talk to a Family Law Expert
If you’re going through a separation and you want to discuss your moving options, the expert team at Westside is standing by to help. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.