Parenting after a divorce can be difficult even when you and your ex live in the same community. Coordinating schedules and arranging visitation times requires a lot of communication and cooperation. But what happens when the parent with primary custody wants to move across the country? Or to another country altogether?
If you are facing a parent mobility issue, you probably have a lot of questions. You may be understandably anxious about the prospect of your child moving far away. If your ex has notified you that he or she intends to relocate, it’s important to speak with an experienced family law lawyer as soon as possible.
The Best Interests of the Child
Ontario courts have held that a proposed move must be in the best interests of the child. It’s important to note that the courts make no presumption in favour of either parent. Although no court can order a parent not to move, the courts do have a right to prohibit a parent to move a child.
To determine if a move is in the child’s best interests, the courts look at a number of factors, including:
- The current custody arrangement
- The child’s relationship with the custodial parent
- The child’s relationship with the access parent
- The child’s wishes
- Why the parent wishes to move
- How the move will affect the child with respect to leaving his or her school, community, and other family members
- How the move will impact the access parent’s visitation
The court may also consider other factors depending on the unique issues in the case.
If you are an access parent confronted with a parent mobility issue, you may be able to fight your ex’s proposed move. Access parents have successfully argued that a move will disrupt the child’s life and relationships. In some cases, parents have also been able to show that a move was just an attempt to keep the access parent from seeing the child.