Determining a custody arrangement of children after a couple decides to end a relationship is often one of the most difficult matters that needs to be addressed. While all parties involved may feel a sense of relief once an agreement is reached, this is not always the end of it. As time passes so too do the circumstances and needs of those involved. In some situations it may be possible to change an agreement. This might arise if one parent is thinking about moving to an area that would make it difficult for both parents to regularly see their children.
In British Columbia there is a process that guardians of children who are seeking to relocate must follow if there is an order or parenting agreement in place, and the move would have a big impact on the relationship between the child and the other parent. It begins with providing notice of the move to the other parent, 60 days before the planned move. The other parent then has 30 days to apply for an order if they object.
In cases where the other guardian objects to the move, and an agreement can’t be reached, the court will rule on the matter. While the best interest of the child is always a standard that is applied when considering matters pertaining to child custody, among other things the court will also consider the reasons behind the move and whether proper notice was given. In addition, it will look to whether the quality of the child’s life will likely improve as a result of the move and whether the current order or agreement contains any restrictions.
While a lack of objection to a move means a relocation can occur without any of this, the failure to follow the process when an objection arises can lead to complications later, or in some situations, even criminal charges.
Because the outcome of relocation cases can dramatically impact the lives of all involved, working with a lawyer who is familiar with cases of this nature and what will be taken into consideration is generally the best way to proceed.