How Do Relocation Rights Work in Alberta for Divorced Couples with Children?

How Do Relocation Rights Work in Alberta for Divorced Couples with Children?

When a couple with children separates, part of the divorce or separation agreement involves setting in place a parenting plan. Fundamental to what to consider when making a parenting plan, parents must settle on where the child or children will live.

Living arrangements may involve the child splitting time between both parents, or living primarily with one while frequently visiting the other, or more. Complications may arise when one of the parents decides to move far enough away that the relocation will affect the parenting schedule. Canadian law has guidelines in place to help clarify how relocation rights work in Alberta for divorced couples with children. 

Working with a legal professional may help ensure you have the information you need to make decisions. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers today to schedule a consultation, and learn how we may be of service in your particular case.

What Counts as a Relocation?

Under the Divorce Act, not every move is considered a relocation. A relocation is a move that renders the parents no longer able to maintain the agreed-upon parenting schedule. For example, if both parents have been living in Alberta, but one moves to New Brunswick, an equally split parenting schedule is likely no longer possible. 

While distance is often a factor, a move even within one city may sometimes be considered a relocation. The defining factor is that the parenting schedule is considerably impacted.

Giving Notice Regarding Relocation

If you are a divorced parent and have a court order that outlines certain parenting responsibilities under the Divorce Act, you are required to give notice regarding your plans to move. Within the notice, you must stipulate what your intentions are regarding where your child will live.

In a move that is not a relocation, such as within the same city, you must let the other parent know the date of your move, your new address, and updated contact information. 

If your move is a relocation, you are required to give the other parent at least 60 days’ notice of your move by filling out the formal Notice of Relocation. This form overviews:

  • When you will be moving
  • Your new address
  • Your new contact information
  • Your proposal on how the parenting and contact schedules may be altered in order to support the child in their ongoing relationships with their parents and/or guardians

If you are planning to relocate with your children, anyone who has parenting responsibility for said children has the right to formally object. If an Objection to Relocation has been filed, no one may relocate with the child until the court makes an order allowing the move to occur.

If you have questions regarding whether your move counts as a relocation, or would like support in filing notice and structuring a proposed change to your parenting schedule, contact our Edmonton family lawyers today to discuss your options.

Exceptions to Notice Rules

In circumstances where one parent is afraid for their and their child’s safety, an exception may be made wherein the parent does not need to give notice to the other prior to relocating. Without telling the other parent, you may apply to the court for a change of the notice rules. The court will require evidence of domestic violence, such as calls to emergency services, police reports, and/or photographs.

Following a Notice of Relocation

Under the Divorce Act, parents are expected to continue negotiating in the efforts of coming to an agreement. Considerations may involve whether it may be possible for the moving parent to stall the move until the child is older, or whether the other parent might also relocate to the same place. If the relocating parent is moving in order to live together with a new partner, might it be possible for the new partner to instead move to the parent’s location?

If the relocating parent does move, the parents are encouraged to consider ways in which the parenting time may be rebalanced to represent the previous parenting plan. For instance, the parent who is relocating might receive extra time with the child over summer break, or over holidays, or long weekends.

It can be challenging to come to an agreement with a former spouse. The support of a professional may be invaluable in providing external support through the potentially emotional flows of negotiation. Contact us today to learn more about alternative dispute resolution, and how our Edmonton family lawyers may be able to help.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Moving to a new jurisdiction, whether for work or personal reasons, can be a tremendously challenging decision when you share parenting responsibility of a child. As always, the best interests of the child are the priority in Canadian law. This means a relocating parent must adhere to the regulations concerning relocation under the Divorce Act. 

Whether you are a parent who is relocating, or if you are the former spouse of a parent who has told you they plan to relocate, our team of Edmonton family lawyers are here to address your questions and concerns. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how we may be of service to you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of family law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta family lawyer.

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