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Does Ontario family law allow a divorced parent to relocate?

Following a divorce in Ontario, life goes on and typically has many twists and turns -- many of which are not anticipated. Regardless of carefully drafted parenting plans, divorced parents may have to make choices that might involve relocation. While this happens to countless other parents, when divorced parents want to relocate with their children, navigation of plans must comply with family law.

There are various possible reasons for moving to another location, including better job prospects, improved housing, a new love or remarriage, and more. If the move is not a great distance away, meaning that the child needs no change in school or child care arrangements, it may be an easy process. However, if the relocation will adversely affect the other parent's access to the child -- or others with court-ordered access -- it might be more challenging. If the other parent will not give consent to the move and mediation is not an option, the court may have to decide.

When the parents cannot find agreement, the party who wants to relocate will have to convince the court that the move will be in the best interest of the child. The court will consider the existing relationship between the child and the other parent, as well as the impact the move will have on that bond. If the move requires the child to change schools, his or her relationship with school friends and other community members will also be considered, along with the proposed circumstances in the new environment.

To ease the process of relocation, a divorced parent might find it beneficial to gain knowledge of the relevant Ontario laws before finalizing plans to relocate. A family law lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the challenges experienced by divorced parents can answer all of a client's questions. He or she may also help during negotiations with the other parent, and if litigation is the only option, the lawyer can advocate for the parent and work to achieve the best possible outcome.

Source: stepstojustice.ca, "Can I move with my child after separation or divorce?", Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017

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