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Plan carefully if you want to relocate with your children

One lesson you may have learned by this point in your life is that things change. Fortunes come and go. Children grow up. Relationships end. You may have firsthand knowledge of how change can affect your life and the lives of those around you. Not all change is bad, and when the opportunity for a new experience comes along, you may be the kind of person to seize the moment.

Perhaps this is the situation you are in now. Whether you have a business opportunity, you want to be closer to family or you simply want to make a move, you have a lot to consider, especially if you have children and your time with them is governed by a court-ordered parenting arrangement. Moving across town may not make much difference unless your impending move will affect the parenting schedule of you or your former partner.

When parents can't agree about the move

Moving may not seem like a big deal, but if it complicates your parenting schedule, you must follow certain rules. First, whether you are the primary guardian of the children or you have parenting time that is court-ordered or court-approved, you must notify your former partner in writing of your intention to relocate. You also have an obligation to notify anyone who has legal contact with the children, such as grandparents or others.

You may be fortunate if your ex does not contest your plans to move. However, if your former partner objects, he or she has 30 days to file an objection with the appropriate British Columbia court. The court may require you to do the following:

  • Prove you have a good reason to move, especially if you are the primary guardian and plan to take the children with you
  • Explain why it is important for you to make this move at this time
  • Describe how the move will benefit the children
  • Disclose whether your parenting agreement prohibits moving away with the children
  • Provide a reasonable alternative for parenting time for the other parent and those who have a legal interest in the children
  • Ensure the other parent will have as close as possible to the same amount of time with the children

Failing to follow the rules can result in serious legal trouble, so you would be wise to seek legal guidance every step of the way. Additionally, if you are the parent who objects to your former partner moving away with the children, you will want to have a strong legal advocate in your corner.

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