Parenting Plan Mediation Child Support

Relocation and Divorce: Best Interest of the Child as the Primary Consideration

In my experience as a mediator, I have identified two distinct types of relocations: short and long. Short relocations involve moves that minimally impact the well-being of the child or family, such as moving within a 20 km radius from the current school. On the other hand, long relocations pose a more significant risk to the child’s best interests, considering factors like changes in schools, reduced visit frequency with parents, potential increased costs, and weather-related risks.

Given the nuanced nature of relocation cases, I propose incorporating a standard clause in separation agreements specific to Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops. For example, a clause could stipulate that short relocations are subject to mutual agreement and should not exceed a specified distance from the child’s current school. In contrast, long relocations would require a more comprehensive assessment, considering factors such as the child’s ties to the current location, the necessity of the move, and potential benefits for the child and custodial parent.

This clause aims to provide a framework for addressing relocation issues more effectively, streamlining the decision-making process, and potentially mitigating conflicts during mediation sessions. The goal is to strike a balance between the child’s best interests and the legitimate concerns of both parents.

Recognizing the inherent challenges in relocation cases, particularly scenarios like a new partner residing 400 km away, deepens the complexity. Factors such as family ties in the new location and employment opportunities for the custodial parent add to the intricacies. As you well know, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and each case requires careful consideration of its unique circumstances.

The variability in judicial opinions on relocation matters further emphasizes the need for a standardized approach in separation agreements. While I understand the difficulty in establishing a universal solution, having a predefined framework can guide the decision-making process and bring about more consistent outcomes.

Typically, a parent seeking to relocate is required to provide written notice at least 60 days in advance to other guardians and individuals connected to the children, as per an agreement or court order.

This notice obligation applies regardless of whether the intention is to move with the child. Exceptions to this rule can only be granted by a court under specific circumstances:

– When giving notice poses a risk of family violence.
– In cases where there is no ongoing relationship between the child and the other guardian or the person specified in the agreement or court order for child contact.

It is possible for all parties to reach an agreement on the relocation, allowing adjustments to parenting time and contact arrangements to accommodate the move.

If a guardian opposes the relocation, they have the option to file an objection with the court. When determining whether to permit the move, a judge will evaluate various factors, including whether the move is undertaken in “good faith” and if practical arrangements exist to maintain the child’s relationship with the opposing guardian.

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