Vancouver child relocation moving away cases are often the most difficult to resolve. There comes a time in our lives when the most unexpected events occur. For intact families, the choice to stay put or to move for a better life is not an easy decision. It is often even more difficult for separated parents. A new job, a new partner, or a job loss or a business failure or even the need to advance one’s education to improve your financial welfare and that of your child can make a move necessary. But the other parent may not want to or even be able to move without losing their career or connections to the community and extended family. Events can shape us or disrupt us. Moments of passion or moments of heartbreak. Our lives are filled with difficult decisions and there’s no crystal ball telling us whether or not we’re making the right choice.
The idea of moving comes with a whirlwind of questions and there’s always that little voice in our heads that becomes louder and louder. You begin to think maybe it only takes a bit of faith. So how are Vancouver child relocation moving away cases decided by the courts if separated parents cannot agree?
Vancouver Child Relocation Moving Away
It’s difficult to find faith in yourself during a time where life seems the most chaotic, but when you hire a lawyer at MacLean Law, we can guarantee you will have the utmost faith in us when you are dealing with Vancouver child relocation moving away disputes.
It is not uncommon for a spouse to have the desire to move after their relationship breaks down. A home that was once surrounded by happy memories can become unnerving; you begin to think that a new city is quite tempting. In family law, moving can start a legal battle when children are involved. Relocating a child to a new place can alter parenting time for the other guardian, which can lead to them opposing the relocation.
The following blog by Carly Crawford of our downtown Vancouver office will give you an overview of how the Family Law Act [SBC 2011], c 25 [the “FLA”] views relocation. Also, we will refer to a past relocation case, for you to have a better understanding of the legal terms. We hope this blog will answer a few of your questions, but the moment you have a couple more, we will be here to pick up the phone.
According to the FLA, a “relocating guardian” is a guardian who plans to relocate a child.
Section 69 of the FLA applies to when a child’s guardian plans to relocate, and a written agreement or an order respecting parenting arrangement or contact with the child applies to the child.
If an application is made under s. 69(4) and the relocating guardian and the other guardian do not have substantially equal parenting time with the child, the relocating guardian must satisfy to the court the following:
(a) the relocating guardian must satisfy the court that:
- the proposed relocation is made in good faith, and
- the relocating guardian has proposed reasonable and workable arrangements to preserve the relationship between the child and the child’s other guardians, persons who are entitled to contact with the child, and other persons who have a significant role in the child’s life, and
- on the court being satisfied of the factors referred to in paragraph (a), the relocation must be considered to be in the best interests of the child unless another guardian satisfies the court otherwise.
(5) If an application is made under s. 69(5) and the relocating guardian and another guardian do have substantially equal parenting time with the child, the relocating guardian must satisfy to the court the following:
1 of the factors described in subsection (4) (a), and
2 that the relocation is in the best interests of the child.
The court will focus on the question of whether or not the relocation is in the best interest of the child. However, the court will look at other relevant factors, such as whether the proposed relocation is made in good faith (s. 69(6)). The term “good faith” generally means that the decision is made honestly and with the decency. The court will consider the following:
- the reasons for the proposed relocation;
- whether the proposed relocation is likely to enhance the general quality of life of the child and, if applicable, of the relocating guardian, including increasing emotional well-being or financial or educational opportunities;
- whether notice was given under section 66 [notice of relocation];
- any restrictions on relocation contained in a written agreement or an order.
Vancouver Child Relocation Moving Away
The Claimant and the Respondent were in twelve (12)-year common-law relationships under the FLA. The parties had one child who resided with the Claimant, mother. The Claimant was seeking to relocate with the Child from Victoria, British Columbia to Gibsons, British Columbia. Under s. 69(2), the Respondent opposed the relocation.
S. 66 of the FLA requires that a guardian who plans to relocate with a child give the other guardian sixty (60) days’ notice of the date of relocation and the proposed location. The Respondent claims he did not receive notice, the Judge disagreed (M.A. v. E.O, 2018 BCSC 1269, para at 101).
The court focuses on two approaches when it comes to relocation applications
The first approach considers when the guardians do not have substantially equal parenting time. If the proposed relocation is made in good faith and the proposed relocation plan is reasonable and workable, the relocation must be considered in the best interests of the child “unless another guardian satisfies the court otherwise.”
The second approach, under s. 69(5), applies where there is substantially equal parenting time and, in that case, the relocating parent must prove that the relocation is in the best interests of the child (M.A. v. E.O, 2018 BCSC 1269, para at 104).
The Claimant suggested the following parenting time proposal to the Respondent: (M.A. v. E.O, 2018 BCSC 1269, para at 121).
- Three times per week via FaceTime, such calls to be initiated by the Respondent;
- One weekend every 8 weeks in Victoria, the Claimant to bring the Child to Victoria, British Columbia, and such parenting time will only occur if the Respondent confirms that he is in Victoria by the Wednesday prior to the anticipated weekend of parenting time;
- If the Respondent fails to confirm that he is in Victoria for his planned parenting time by the Wednesday prior to the commencement of the parenting time, the Claimant will not be required to attend Victoria with the child;
- Every second weekend in Gibsons, British Columbia, upon 14 days’ clear notice.
The Judge examined other factors as well, such as the Claimant’s $23,000 income and the rent-free accommodation in Gibsons, which saved the Claimant approximately $1,200.00 per year. Further, the Judge found that a move to Gibsons would provide the Claimant and the Child an opportunity of a fresh start with minimal expenses and strong reliable support for the Child.
The Judge concluded that the proposed relocation would enhance the general quality of life of the Child and the Claimant by increasing their emotional well-being and financial opportunities (M.A. v. E.O, 2018 BCSC 1269, para at 127). The proposed relocation was found to be made in good faith.
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We can’t promise to help move the heavy furniture, but we will gladly take the legal load. At MacLean Law, our focus is you. The whirlwind of legal questions you had, in the beginning, will slowly disappear because we don’t sleep peacefully until you do.