Relocation: Is it in the best interests of the child?

British Columbia parents or guardians of children after divorce may find that circumstances change and reasons to relocate may arise. This could involve better employment opportunities in another province, a new lover or other reasons. If there is an order or agreement in place, the court must approve such relocation, and its primary consideration will be the best interests of the child.

Advisors say it is probably best to discuss the plans with the other parent or guardian before finalising any arrangements to relocate. If the parents can find agreement, the court is more likely to authorise changes to the guardianship and access order. Even if negotiations are not possible, the other parent must be notified, and he or she will have 30 days to file an objection with the court. The guardian who plans to move will then have to convince the court that the relocation will be in the best interests of the child.

Moving away with the child without an agreement or an authorization of the court can be detrimental. The consequences that may follow could include fines or even time behind bars. The other guardian may ask the court to cancel the existing order of guardianship, and the court may then amend the order in favour of the other parent. That parent will be free to file a charge of abduction if there is any evidence of such a crime.

For these reasons a British Columbia parent who wants to relocate after a divorce may find that having the support and guidance of an experienced family law lawyer can be a valuable asset. Such a legal representative can assess the circumstances and explore the available remedies. A lawyer can help with showing the court that the relocation may be in the best interests of the child, or in opposing such a request on behalf of the party objecting to the move.

Source:, “Can you move — With or without your child?“, Accessed on May 12, 2017

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