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BC Separation Date Lawyers

Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers deal with the difficult situation of when one parent wants to move to a new city or country and take the parties’ child away from the other parent with them. Our Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers know new relationships, new jobs, new opportunities mean separated parents are more mobile than ever. Our Lawyers also know these child move away also called child relocation cases often lead to court disputes. MacLean Law has won “Top* Vancouver Family Law Firm” for the last 3 years straight. Click here to meet with us at any of our 6 locations across BC and in downtown Calgary.

Client Success Story From Our Top* Rated Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers 604-602-9000

In early 2018, one of MacLean Law Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers client’s was hit with an application by the mother of his young son and daughter to relocate with them from Abbotsford to Kelowna, because of supposedly better housing and job opportunities.  She proposed that the father should have the children every other weekend (plus holidays), with exchanges to take place in Merritt, BC.  The father had a close relationship with his children since birth, but his job 3 hours north of Fort St. John as an oil/gas plant operator took him away from home at least 2 weeks per month.  At the same time, mother had only been allowing father to have 5 consecutive days per month plus holidays, and was refusing to extend father’s non-holiday time to a more equal parenting arrangement.    

Tal Wolf Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers Wins 604-602-9000

In a nearly 2-day chambers session senior associate Tal Wolf of our Vancouver offices of Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers emphasized to the Supreme Court’s Master Keighly the following factors:

  • Father was closely bonded our client has been with his children; 
  • Father was the one who initially had sued Mother for a more equal parenting arrangement, an issue which had not yet had an opportunity to be presented through live testimony at trial;
  • Mother had made it unreasonably difficult for Father to communicate with the children by phone and Internet, calling into question her good faith; 
  • Mother’s proferred reasons for moving to Kelowna may not have been genuine, based on flaws and deficiencies in Mother’s evidence on housing and job availability in Abbotsford and her lack of due diligence on those issues;
  • The negative effects on the children’s lives and weekend schedules (including regularly scheduled sports leagues such as hockey) if compelled to drive back-and-forth between Abbotsford, Merrit, Kelowna every other weekend;
  • The severe effects of the children’s departure from the Fraser Valley on their relationship with their paternal grandparents who have health issues;
  • The close bond between the children and those of Father’s new partner, which would be significantly hampered if the children could not enjoy the same kind of regular time together.
  • The significant strain of Mother’s proposed relocation on Father’s future plans with his new partner and her children.   
  • Father’s plan to eventually return to the Lower Mainland for work. 
  • The logistical burden on the children (and parents) of Mother’s exchange proposal which would have entailed hours of driving in the warm season, and dangerous road conditions or expensive flights in the winter.
  • The contrast in quality of occasional weekend-time with the unrushed, ordinary, daily and nightly parenting routines that the children enjoyed with their father during a longer string of consecutive days/nights in a geographically stable environment. 

The Court’s official Reasons for Judgment are found here and the BC Supreme Court Master relied heavily on the recent Appeals case of Hellberg v. Netherclift, 2017 BCCA 363, which opined:

[87] In our view, the judge granted Ms. Hellberg’s application in the absence of any evidence that her financial circumstances or emotional state were having any impact on the child. Ms. Hellberg’s circumstances were only relevant if they were having a deleterious impact on the child’s well-being that would likely be ameliorated by the proposed move. There was no evidence linking Ms. Hellberg’s financial and emotional circumstances in Nelson to the child’s best interests. The record is virtually silent on this point. There was no description of the child’s living arrangement when he was with Ms. Hellberg from which a non-speculative factual inference could be drawn that the shared living arrangement was detrimental to the child’s best interests. As this Court noted in Fuller v. Fuller Estate, 2010 BCCA 421, 9 B.C.L.R. (5th) 236 (B.C. C.A.) at para. 38, if there are no positive proven facts from which an inference can be drawn, the inference is merely speculative.

88      In the absence of any evidence that Ms. Hellberg’s financial and emotional circumstances in Nelson were having a negative impact on the child’s comfort, happiness or personal development, the judge resolved the central issue that arose at trial in a factual vacuum.  His conclusion that the child’s best interests would be advanced by permitting Ms. Hellberg to relocate with him to the UK was speculative and, therefore, reflects palpable and overriding error.

Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers

The lesson here is that the well-known principle in BC family law that when children are young and mobility is at issue — “what’s good for the parent is good for the child” – has its limits.  It will not be enough for the parent desiring to move to hang their hat on their own personal needs if they have not put the work into identifying how the children themselves would be adversely affected by staying put. 

Importantly, however, the moving parent almost always will get 2 bites at the apple, whereas losing a mobility application is like losing a battle but not the war.  That parent will have a second opportunity to make their case for the proposed move at trial where they may well be in a position to adduce evidence establishing that the present circumstances are having a deleterious impact on the child’s physical or emotional needs; and having lost their initial chambers application, the moving parent no doubt will come away from the experience as a “dress rehearsal” having learned all the flaws and gaps in their factual/legal presentation that they can improve upon and fill in for the trial judge. 

The parent opposing relocation, on the other hand, typically needs to prevail twice, because although the preliminary application is theoretically “interim” (temporary) in nature, the reality is that the Court will be hard-pressed to find it in the children’s best interests to move back again after they have spent months or years setting down roots and establishing their lives at the new place. 

Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers

If you are a parent trying to keep your kids from being moved against your will, the Vancouver Surrey Child Mobility Relocation Lawyers at MacLean Law can help you in creating a plan to deal with stopping a parent from moving away when their plan doesn’t meet the child’s true needs.

Call our top rated* family lawyers today. 604-602-9000.

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