Child Custody: What the Courts Consider When Applying for a Mobility Application
While divorce proceedings and child custody disputes can be emotionally taxing – this process can bring about significant changes to each spouse’s lifestyle post-divorce. In fact, more often than not, we’ve seen many instances where one spouse may choose to relocate to another city, province or country following a divorce due to their change in economic or financial status and take the children with them.
In a situation like this where one parent wishes to pursue a significant relocation with a child – a mobility application is required. The Alberta Courts will always put a child’s best interests first and as a result – the parent seeking to relocate with the child will be required to offer reasons as to why relocating with the child is in their best interests. For more specific examples of what items are taken into consideration by judges during a mobility application, read the decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada in Goertz v. Goertz.
Some of the things Alberta courts will investigate include, but are not limited to:
- What the child wishes to do
- Where the child will live (residence)
- Whether childcare requirements will be sufficient
- Support system that will be available including extended family
- Employment opportunities and/or new income
- In some cases psychological assessments
- And more
If a mobility application is requested and granted – the stay-behind parent will still be granted access to the child(ren) providing he/she is entitled to child custody as well.
Mobility applications and pre-existing child custody court orders
In some cases there may be a pre-existing custody court order that enforces the parent who has primary custody and intends to relocate with their child to notify the other parent within a specified time frame of the upcoming move. The Divorce Act requires that the notifying parent outline the proposed change of residence, the time when the change will be made as well as the new place of residence of the child.
Be mindful though these court orders can be contested by an opposing parent and if you’re in a similar situation we encourage you to seek legal counsel from an experienced Alberta divorce lawyer regarding this. For example, if you are against your children relocating with your former spouse there are legal options that you may be entitled to. You may be eligible to file an application to oppose the proposed move and commence court proceedings asking for a judge’s order to prevent your former spouse from moving with the children.
If no such court order exists, then we recommend speaking with your spouse to come to an amicable arrangement and if that doesn’t work out – then definitely seek legal counsel so that both sides can come to an arrangement that works for both parties.
What happens if one parent moves the children without consulting the other parent?
In a situation like this – it is possible to start a court application to have the children returned to their original place of residence and to have child custody arrangements changed over to the other parent. A family lawyer can assist with this process and will make sure that the presiding judge will be equipped with all facts and that the children’s best interests will remain a priority throughout the proceedings. In most Canadian legal jurisdictions – child custody is seen more as a child’s right to access the parent as much as a parent’s right to access the child. Having a family lawyer involved can make sure you are informed of all your legal rights as a parent and help you navigate the complexities of Alberta’s family law guidelines.
Speak with an Edmonton family lawyer today regarding your mobility application
At Verhaeghe Law Office – our Alberta family lawyers are experienced in assisting families sort out their divorce and separation needs. To better understand how we can assist with your child mobility application needs – contact our law firm today by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with a member of our legal team.
Note: This blog offers general information for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Family law can be complex and you’re encouraged to seek legal advice to better understand your rights and responsibilities as well as the rights of your children.