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Hello, I am Nick Slinko of the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today, I will be discussing the issue of mobility – that is, moving away with your children after separation. Such a move will usually negatively impact the other parent’s access to the children.
In approximately 90% of cases, it is the mother who proposes to relocate with the children.
The decision to relocate must be decided on the basis of the children’s best interests.
This issue is challenging and can result in conflict and ultimately expensive litigation.
At present, there are no Federal standards that dictate the circumstances where relocation would be appropriate. Courts are guided simply by the 1996 Supreme Court of Canada Case of Gordon v. Goetz which states that mobility, or moving, decisions be based on “the best interests of the child.”
However, British Columbia has recently implemented the Relocation Advisory Guidelines (or RAG) which set out circumstances where relocation would be appropriate. These circumstances include:
- Where the parent seeking to relocate has sole custody – mobility is a major decision and a parent with joint custody would not be at liberty to make a mobility decision unilaterally
- Where the parent opposing the relocation has committed abuse against the custodial parent and or the children
- Where the child wishes to move
According to the Relocation Advisory Guidelines, circumstances where a proposed relocation would not be appropriate include:
- Cases of shared custody (where the spouses or partners have the children approximately equal time)
- Where the parent seeking to relocate has made false accusations of abuse against the other parent
- The child does not wish to move
- Where the parent seeking to relocate unilaterally removes the child.
These Guidelines, or others like them could assist in resolving relocation disputes not only in British Columbia but ultimately throughout Canada.
If you are wishing to relocate and want to discuss the issue in more detail, or want to discuss other child custody issues more generally, please feel free to contact us at Feldstein Family Law Group at (905) 581-7222 to book a free initial consultation in-office, or visit our website. Thank you.