Whether married or in a common law relationship, a parent wishing to permanently move a child to a location of significant distance from where the child is ordinarily resident must get the consent of the other parent or an Order from the Court permitting the child’s relocation. This is the case because the access parent’s access time to the child is affected by the increased distance and the principle of maximum contact as between the child and both parents always applies.
These principle apply to parents who have a Court Order or an existing Agreement as much as it applies to parents who do not yet have such a Court Order or Agreement. Ideally, for evidentiary purposes voluntary consent to a move or an Agreement to such a move should be in writing and preferably with Independent Legal Advice from a lawyer.
In instances where parties cannot agree the party wishing to move may make an application to the Court permitting such a move. Practically speaking, the parent seeking to move must tender compelling reasons and evidence for seeking to move with the child.
The importance of the child remaining with the parent to whose custody it has become accustomed in the new location must be weighed against the continuance of full contact with the child’s access parent, its extended family and its community. The ultimate question in every case is this: what is in the best interests of the child in all the circumstances, old as well as new?
More particularly Court will consider the following factors and evidence supporting them:
• the existing custody arrangement and relationship between the child and the custodial parent;
• the existing access arrangement and the relationship between the child and the access parent;
• the desirability of maximizing contact between the child and both parents;
• the views of the child;
• the custodial parent’s reason for moving, only in the exceptional case where it is relevant to that parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child;
• disruption to the child of a change in custody; and
• disruption to the child consequent on removal from family, schools, and the community he or she has come to know.
Each decision is weighed carefully on the evidence presented. If a Court Order permitting a move is granted, maximum contact with the non custodial parent must be maintained. In addition if there is an additional cost to access the Child, Child Support is usually varied.
The Calgary Family Law firm of RCIM LLP has lawyers with extensive experience at negotiating and litigating mobility issues. We assist clients all over Alberta and we regularly make Court appearances in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and in most other centres in our province to address mobility issues. Our lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced and continually conduct research for updates on the law. We are compassionate and we are here to assist you and your family in your time of need. Please contact us for an appointment.