Protocol in place for parents seeking to relocate with children

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Friday, April 1, 2016.

When a relationship does not end on good terms, working through the issues related to the split can be difficult. In situations where children are involved, the creation of the parenting plan in particular can be problematic.

Because life is full of change, even after the plan is created it is possible changes could be made at a later date. Before parents can take children to live somewhere that makes it difficult for the other parent to see them, that other parent must agree. In the alternative, the parent seeking to move must work with the court to show that such a move is necessary.

When determining whether a relocation will be allowed, in addition to whether a material change in circumstance exists, the court will consider a variety of issues including what is in the child’s best interest, the relationship the child has with each parent and the existing access and custody arrangements.

Unfortunately, not all parents seeking to move with their children follow this course of action. A mother in Calgary believes her estranged husband and the father of her four children, has abducted them and has taken them to Iraq. He allegedly took them there on vacation and did not bring them back. Thus far, the woman has made two trips to the country to try to get them returned to Canada, but has not succeeded.

Individuals in Alberta, who seek to make a change to the parenting plan in place, need to follow the guidelines in existence. This is particularly true in matters involving a relocation, where the failure to do so, could lead to allegations of committing a crime. Working with a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of the process is generally a good place to start.

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