If you are the custodial parent and want to move, you may be wondering what will happen to your children. One hitch back is that the other parent will be reluctant to allow the process to move on smoothly. According to the mobility rules in Canada that applies to formerly married couples who got divorced, you can only do so if this will not affect the child best interest. Whether to move or not depends on the agreements you made with your former spouse at the time of divorce.
Parental Mobility Rights
The decision to move and take your children along after a divorce is termed as mobility rights. If the custodial parent has decided to move and take the children along, the first thing the other parent can do is to look back at the child custody agreements they made together. If the agreement contained mobility rights, the non-custodial parent might stand a better chance to stop any relocation. If there was no agreement, then one may have less opportunity to stop the move. To know what rules to apply to such a case depends on the province or territory the parent live in. If in such a situation, you can work out your issue with a divorce lawyer in Toronto. Before ordering any application to move the judge must be satisfied that:
- There is a change in condition or a circumstance toward the child that has forced the parent to move.
- The need must be affecting the child materially.
- If the need were foreseen, the court order concerning mobility rights would have been ruled otherwise.
In most cases, the custodial parent’s decision to move is believed to be in the best interest of the child. But the duty to ascertain whether the move will be for the child best interest is done by the court but not the custodial parent. A custodial parent has no right to move the child where he/she feels like. He/she must follow the court order. Such cases are problematic due to the arguments presented. If you are a parent seeking help to move with your children, it would be prudent to seek legal help. You can do so, by the use of a divorce lawyer who will present the best legal arguments. For instance, your lawyer can argue that:
- The cost of living in the new environment will be much more comfortable for the child.
- There is the availability of better schools, hospitals etc.
- The cultural environment seems to favor the child.
Establishing A Material Change
If you want to move with your child, you must ensure to establish material change to ensure the court permits you. For instance, you may claim that the area you have been in has a high rate of child abuse or crime; you can also claim that the schools and hospitals in the surrounding area have a low quality of service. If you can convince the court about the material change, then you stand a high chance for the judge to make a change towards the best interest of the child. Another significant issue is whether the other non-custodial parent will have access to the child. The arrangements made should not disrupt the child’s lifestyle; instead, it should make it easier. Where the move may add other costs to the non-custodial parent, the court may be forced to request the custodial parent to cater for any expenses to ensure the other parent had access to the child. For any change to take place, their custodial parent must have notified the non-custodial parent at least 30 days before any change takes place. Other things to be considered include:
- The proposed change of residence
- The stipulated time for the change to take place
If there seem to be arguments on the proposed change, you can look reach out for help to a family lawyer.
Court Decisions About Parental Mobility Rights
For any case involving parental mobility rights, the judge must be involved to ensure the right process is followed concerning custody and access. Among the factors that the judge will consider include:
- Whether the arrangements for custody and access are in place
- How the child will be affected by the move in terms of schooling, the relationship between parents or even friends. The child should have as much contact with both parents as much as possible.
- In case the child is old enough to make decisions, the child’s interest in matters related to the move .will be considered
Any custodial parent who wants to move must seek approval from the other parent. Again, he/ she will need to seek permission from the court before moving with the child. If a parent moves with the children without consent, the judge may take this seriously and penalties or fines may apply. Child relocation cases are the most difficult among child custody cases. The reason being, relocating always happens against the non-custodial parent’s wishes. To win such a case, you need a lawyer with knowledge about mobility rights in family law.