Relocation or moving with children after Separation or divorce can be a sensitive issue given there are new amendments to family law in relation to how one separated parent may move with their children
The new amendments to the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act, effective as of March 1, 2021, provide an updated framework to guide separated parents through their legal rights and obligations in situations where a parent is relocating with their child to a different city, town, province or country.
First, it is important to note that under the newly amended laws, not every move with children of separated parents is considered a relocation. A “relocation” means a change in residence of a child, or of a person who has decision-making responsibility or parenting time with respect to the child or is an applicant for a parenting order in respect of the child, that is likely to have a significant impact on the child’s relationship with
(a) another person who has decision-making responsibility or parenting time with respect to the child or is an applicant for a parenting order in respect of the child, or
(b) a person who has contact with respect to the child under a contact order;
This generally means that relocation is a move that will result a current parenting schedule no longer being possible to adhere to, given the new distance between the parents’ respective residences. If the move will have significant impact on the parenting schedule, the moving parent must follow the procedures set out by the relevant amended laws. The moving parent is required to give at least 60 days’ notice of the move in a notice form required by the Courts, in which you will provide information about the move and how the parenting schedule could be changed such that the child’s relationship with the other parent is supported. There are exceptions to some of these requirements where there is fear for the parent’s or the child’s safety, should the other parent be made aware of their address.
The moving parent can move forward with the relocation in the event that the non-moving parent does not object to the child’s move within 30 days of receiving the notice and where there is no Court Order to indicate that the move cannot happen. The non-relocating parent, can object to the move, by serving court documents in response to the notice of relocation either to have the issue heard in Court and/or to fully put a stop to the move all together.
Once the objection is made, and the matter is before the Court, the Court will determine whether or not the parent can relocate with the child, based on the best interests of the child. The court will review a number of factors to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to move with the relocating parent.
Our law firm is working with both existing and potential new clients to assist parents seeking to relocate with their children or to respond to requests made for relocation. Our firm is here to assist you in regards to all of your needs, and can assist you in any negotiations you may need to resolve within your custody, child support and family law disputes. Please call one of our affordable family lawyers in Toronto for a consultation related to your family law matters.
Written by: Ms. Katie Gaboury, Associate Lawyer