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Relocation efforts may cause legal entanglements

Parents in British Columbia may already have enough to deal with in the normal course of parenting. However, when those parents are no longer living in the same house, it can cause additional challenges. You and your former partner may have spent significant time trying to work out parenting schedules that provide the least disruption for the children and remain workable for both of you.

All of this can go by the wayside if one parent decides to move away. Because family courts are wholly focused on the welfare of the children, the relocation of either parent can create stress and emotional suffering for the children. To avoid this as much as possible, the courts place certain restrictions on those parents seeking to relocate.

Legal restrictions

Relocating may be important for a parent. It may mean improved employment opportunities, closer proximity to other family members or other benefits that could improve a parent's life. If you are in this situation, you may feel it is your right to make the move. However, if you have parenting rights, the court requires you to notify the other parent of your intention to relocate within 60 days of your planned move. You must also send notification to any other adults who have rightful contact with the children.

Even if you are not planning on moving with the children, if your relocation disrupts the time they have with you, the court requires you to take the legal steps before moving. Ideally, you and your partner can work out a new arrangement that will allow the children adequate time with both parents, and the court must simply approve the plan. However, it may be that your former partner objects to your moving, especially if you do intend on taking the children.

If your partner objects

In cases where the other parent objects to the relocation of a former partner, the two must bring the matter to a judge. The judge will consider several factors before approving or rejecting the petition to relocate. For example, the judge will want to know the reasons why you are moving and how you intend to maintain fair and quality parenting time for both parents.

Relocation issues are typically delicate matters, and the courts frequently side on maintaining stability for the children. Whether you are seeking a move with the children, relocating without the kids or challenging your former partner's plans to move, obtaining experienced legal support is a wise decision.

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