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Vancouver Family Law Blog

Can a parent move children with custody access orders in place?

There are many things that might prompt a parent to want to move his or her kids away from the other parent. There could be abuse involved in the relationship, the parent may have a job offer elsewhere, or he or she may want to be closer to extended family. But according to family law rules in British Columbia, no parent can make the one-sided decision to move the children if the access rights of the other parent are affected. Women are mostly affected by these situations, although not always.

If one parent consents to the other relocating with the children, the move can be made, but the consent should always be obtained in writing. A lawyer is in the position to help a client with a clause in the custody agreement or create an amendment to a custody order. It is inadvisable to go on verbal consent alone.

Family law: Will a protection order really protect you?

There are times when one faction of the law crosses into another. Family law in Alberta can enmesh with circumstances that could bring about charges in other areas such as criminal law. For instance, this can occur when there is abuse present in a relationship and one individual files a protective or restraining order against the other. But do these protection orders actually work? 

Firstly, protection orders must be approved by the court and secondly, if someone is bent on harming another individual, a piece of paper may not do the trick, experts say. On the other hand, some family mediators suggest the orders are better than nothing at all, although they shouldn't be the only protective measure for those affected by domestic abuse and violence. In Canada, peace bonds are protection orders for more serious cases when a victim may not have a family connection with the accused, whereas restraining orders are usually issued against perpetrators who are more reasonable and more likely to follow the order. 

Family law: Avoiding parental mistakes during a divorce

Parents want what's best for their children, but when facing divorce, some people act on emotion rather than pausing to reflect on how what they're doing might affect their kids. British Columbia has family law rules in place that protect children and that protection is even more crucial in this technological age. There are some things parents need to know to sidestep making mistakes that could affect their children as they go through the divorce process.

One of the main mistakes divorcing couples make is utilizing social media to post about their personal lives, which might adversely affect their children. This can be especially true for a parent who is seeking custody of the children. Social media can either hinder or help in a divorce situation. Airing dirty laundry on social media pages can be unhealthy and might be used as evidence in court, not to mention children may have access to what is posted online.

Children's issues: Funding reworked for Child Advocacy Centres

The provincial government in Alberta has come up with what it says is a more efficient way to help vulnerable children. There are a number of important children's issues in the province and the Government of Alberta is instituting a funding model for Child Advocacy Centres. The Minister of Children's Services recently announced that $3.4 million every year, beginning this year and into 2023, has been earmarked for these centres in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lloydminster and Red Deer.

Funding will also be available for Lethbridge and Medicine Hat if centres open there. These centres -- which support children and families who have been affected by abuse -- not only receive government funds, but are also funded by not-for-profit organizations and through private donations. This new provincial funding model, however, won't be as kind to the centre in Calgary, which received $1.9 million dollars last year, but will receive $1.3 million each year over the next three years. Funding for other centres will increase with the Edmonton Centre set to get more than $1 million a year -- up from $712,000.

Children's issues: Should kids stay with non-Indigenous family?

A First Nation mom whose children are in the care of non-Indigenous foster parents is fighting the system to have her children remain where they are. Many children's issues in British Columbia focus on what is best for the children involved, and this mother -- who had her five children removed from her care -- says her children are allegedly being used as pawns by her First Nation to point out that Indigenous children should be with Indigenous families. The woman insists, however, that her children are happy, healthy and cared for by their foster parents and sending them to live with far-away family members they don't know would be a mistake.

The mother says her First Nation is acting on its own agenda and her children's happiness and security is being put at risk. She is challenging the court and provincial government regarding introducing her children to relatives they don't know. She is waiting for a court ruling on a provincial bid to reject a challenge she brought forth regarding the province's Child, Family and Community Service Act on her belief that the law violates her rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada. 

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.

Understand your legal options. Make informed decisions. Contact the family law lawyers of Henderson Heinrichs LLP

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