Relocation and Family Law Matters
Have you gotten a new job? Do you need to move to live closer to family? One issue that frequently arises for our clients is the issue of relocation. Following separation, parents are often able to determine care arrangements amongst themselves but then significant conflict can arise when one or both parents propose to relocate from the area. We are often asked if a parent is ‘’allowed’’ to move.
The short answer is: of course the parent can move. The better question is: can the children move with you? The Court must consider the “best interests of the child’’ and this includes consideration of:
1. The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm or from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse neglect or family violence.
There are many factors that need to be considered if one parent is proposing to move including:
1. How far away is the proposed move?
2. How will this impact on the time the child/children was spending with the non-relocating parent?
3. What capacity do the parents have to facilitate the child/children seeing the other parent? (For example, what are the costs and means of travel?)
4. What are the consequences to the relocating parent if they do not move? (For example, will they be out of employment, will they be unable to support a family member in need, do they have a new partner that needs to move, etc).
The Court may also consider the following:
1. The nature of the relationship between the child and their parents or other significant people (such as the extended family);
2. The willingness/capacity of each parent to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child/children and the other parent;
3. The effect the proposed change may have on the child’s circumstances
4. The child’s views (depending on the age/maturity of the child);
5. Any incidents of family violence; and
6. Other important factors.
There is no set one criteria for relocation and it is determined on a case by case basis. The Court will ultimately make a decision they determine to be in the best interests of the child.