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Moving with your children: the rights of a custodial parent

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Family law

We are approaching that period of time in the year when you may make a decision about staying in your current place of residence, or about moving.

Parents who have custody of their children and who are co-parenting with another parent may ask themselves if it is important to get the other parent’s approval before changing their place of residence. This question has become a frequent subject in front of the courts.

The question of being able to move with one’s children is not problematic when both parents agree to the move. The problem arises when one parent opposes the other parent’s intention to move, at which time the Court will have to decide if this move constitutes a significant change for the children.

The fact of changing one’s residence does not necessarily constitute a reason for the Court to intervene. However, if the move of the parent will have an impact on the other parent’s access to and contact with their children, the Court will need to deal with the question in order to determine the best interests of the children.

As an example, if both parents are living in Terrebonne and one parent decides to move to Quebec City with a minor child, the Court will have to decide if it is in the best interest of the child to maintain their residence in Terrebonne or to move with the other parent to Quebec City. A Court evidently cannot force a parent not to move, as the right of mobility is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, a court can render a decision changing the custody of the child so that the child can maintain their residence in Terrebonne.

In fact, the Court will take into consideration that, for example, the child has significant attachments to the community, as well as the custody arrangements in place prior to the move.

As in all matters related to children, all decisions will be made taking into consideration the best interests of the children and it is important to advise the other parent in advance of your intention to move.

Although a parent may have custody of a child, the other parent still has and holds parental authority over the child and therefore, the question of residence must be agreed upon by the parents.

If you require any additional information, it is important to discuss with your lawyer, to review all the options that are available to you.
 
Gianina Fuschini, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier Avocats inc.
Moving with your children: the rights of a custodial parent
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