Child Relocation & Mobility Lawyers Scarborough
When one parent wants to move with their child or children, and they are separated or divorced, child relocation issues arise, which is one of the more unpredictable areas of family law.
While the courts may recognize the benefits of the parent moving, they must balance those benefits with what is in the child’s best interest and its effects on parenting time for the other parent.
One of the top cases family courts use when hearing child relocation requests is the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Gordon v. Goertz (1996) 2 SCR 27. The results of this case helped establish several essential factors for the lower courts to use when ruling on child relocation cases.
There is no legal presumption in favour of the decision-making parent. Although, the court does take their views into consideration.
The court views each child relocation request as having its own set of unique circumstances. The court emphasizes the child’s best interest – not the rights and interests of the parents.
The judge considering the relocation request evaluates the following:
- a) The current decision-making and parenting order.
- b) The relationship between the child and the decision-making parent.
- c) The relationship between the child and the non-decision-making parent.
- d) The desire of both parents to maximized parenting time with their child.
- e) The concerns and views of the child.
- f) The reason for the relocation request by the decision-making parent and its relevance to their ability to meet their child’s needs.
- g) How a disruption to the child could occur by changing the decision-making parent.
- h) How the relocation from the community where the child resides, family friends, and school could cause a disruption to the child.
Please note, the term “access” was replaced with “parenting time,” and the term “custody” was replaced with “decision-making responsibility,” as of March 2, 2021.
Supreme Court Justice McLachlin summarized the factors as follows:
“In the end, the importance of the child remaining with the parent to whose custody it has become accustomed in the new location must be weight against the continuance of full contact with the child’s access parent, the extended family, and the community. The ultimate question in every case is this: What is in the best interest of the child in all circumstances, old as well as new?”
There was already an existing decision-making and parenting order in effect In Gordon v. Goertz. In cases where there is no order in effect, one will be established first before the family court decides on a child relocation request.
The family court judge will use their discretion when reviewing the above factors and the child’s best interest to decide whether to approve the child relocation request.
What Child’s Best Interest Considerations Does the Court Evaluate?
To evaluate the child’s best interest in a child relocation case, the judge reviews:
- The reason the parent has for relocating the child.
- The impacts relocating the child could have on them.
- The amount of parenting time each parent has and how parenting time may be impacted.
- Whether necessary notice requirements have been followed by the parent requesting the child relocation.
- What, if any, geographic restrictions there could be.
- The reasonableness of the proposal to relocate the child.
- Whether the current decision-making and parenting order has complied with other agreements, family law orders, and arbitral awards.
What Are the Notice Requirements for Child Relocation?
The parent requesting the relocation of the child must provide a 60-day notice to the other parent and/or those with contact orders. The notice should include:
- The proposed moving date.
- The child’s new address and contact information.
- A proposal on how contact, decision-making, and parenting time will occur after relocating the child.
How Can Child Relocation Lawyers in Scarborough Help?
Child relocation cases can be rather complex. At AP Lawyers, we will review the circumstances for your request when you schedule a consultation at our office. We examine the thousands of cases decided since Gordon v. Goertz to determine the strengths and weaknesses in your request, whether you are the parent wanting to relocate your child or the parent opposing relocating the child.
For a confidential consultation and assistance with child relocation issues, please feel free to contact AP Lawyers in Scarborough today!
Our Scarborough family law firm has assisted parents with child relocation requests, appeals to existing orders, requests for modifications to existing orders, and litigates matters in family court on complex cases.