Do I need to send a Notice of Relocation?
After a marital separation many parents would love to make a fresh start elsewhere. They may want physical distance from their ex, be in a new relationship with a partner who lives in another province, want to be closer to family or they may have job or schooling opportunities elsewhere.
Until March 2021, it was difficult for lawyers to answer the question "Can I move away and take the kids with me?" The answer has always been "it depends".
The Divorce Act has now helped alleviate the confusion a great deal by setting out specific rules for parents.
If one parent wants to relocate they must send the other parent a Notice of Relocation, a form that is available on the Department of Justice website. It must include the date of the move, the new address, up to date contact information, and a suggestion for a new parenting schedule post-move.
This form must be provided to the other parent at least 60 days before the move. If the other parent is fine with the move happening, they do not have to do anything. If they do not agree with it, they must send back an Objection to Relocation form within 30 days of receipt of the Notice or they can file a Motion in the courts.
The relocating parent cannot then move the children until the parents reach an agreement or a Judge makes a decision as to whether the move is in the children's best interest. The Judges will consider how much time the children spend with each parent, their connections to the community, friends an
d extended family, their ages, the reasons for the move and how they may benefit the children, and what parenting time is possible after a move. Essentially, will the benefits of the move outweigh what the child will lose by moving away.
The Divorce Act does not define what distance qualifies as a relocation. Basically if the move is far enough away that the parenting time schedule will no longer work, then it is a relocation.
In Westman, parents move from Brandon to communities like Kemnay, Souris, Alexander, Minnedosa, Rapid City, Glenboro and parenting schedules can stay the same as they were with both parents in Brandon. However with a shared custody schedule, a move of just 20 or 30 minutes away may change the parenting arrangements and become a "relocation".
If in doubt, parents should serve the Notice of Relocation.
For any parent considering a relocation or concerned about the other parent moving, they should not only check out the Department of Justice website but also contact a lawyer.
If you have questions about relocating with children, please contact our office today, and our lawyers will be happy to answer your questions.
Click here to go to the Department of Justice website.