Can a parent with child custody relocate at will?
British Columbia parents who are divorced may manage to establish schedules for parenting time and visitation that benefits the children, and it may all work out well — until the time comes that the custodial parent wants to relocate. A parent with child custody cannot just pack up and move to another city, province or territory. If the parents cannot agree on the relocation, the court will have to decide whether the move may take place.
The primary concern of the court will be the best interest of the child. When making this decision, the court will consider the current custody arrangement and the existing relationship between both parents and the child. The views of the child may be considered — depending on the child’s age and maturity. The disruption in the child’s life with relation to education, relationships and his or her place in the community will be considered.
The custodial parent will have to prove that the intended relocation is for the benefit of the child rather than simply his or her own interests. If the parents can come to an agreement and work out a modified visitation schedule, the court will likely approve it. However, it is important not to relocate with only the other parent’s verbal consent. Getting the court’s authorization can prevent litigation in the future.
Divorced British Columbia parents who want to relocate may find it helpful to consult with an experienced family law lawyer. In addition to explaining the child custody laws related to the proposed relocation of a parent, the lawyer may be able to assist with negotiations or even arrange for a family law mediator to facilitate such negotiations. The lawyer can advocate for either the custodial or the access parent while also protecting the best interests of the child.
Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators
2755 Lougheed Hwy #710, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9
Source: FindLaw Canada, “Can custodial parents move their children?“, Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on May 9, 2017