Relocation and Child Custody
Parents or guardians of a child in British Columbia who share custody with another individual cannot just move to another area without giving written notice 60 days in advance. This is the case even if the individual plans to move only themselves or only the child. There are a few special circumstances in which this does not apply; for example, if there is a threat of violence to the child or guardian, notice is not required.
The people who have been given notice, then have the opportunity to object to the move. The individuals may try to work out an agreement, but if they cannot, the person who is objecting to the move might file for a court order. The court will then decide whether the guardian or child can relocate. It will weigh a number of factors in making this decision, including the effect on the child’s quality of life, the reasons for the move, how it will affect the child’s relationships with others and the child’s best interests.
Some suggest that the relocating party discuss moving plans with others affected by the action well before the move is finalized. This may help reduce or eliminate conflict, and custody arrangements can be renegotiated in a more amicable atmosphere.
For parents or guardians of children who are dealing with a move, approaching the situation with a collaborative law perspective may lead to better solutions. Lawyers may be able to assist in negotiating new agreements around custody and visitation that allow one parent to take advantage of an educational or job opportunity in a new area while still maintaining good relations with the other parent.