Family Law

Relocation after Separation or Divorce

Separation or Divorce

Going through a separation or divorce is possibly one of the hardest things you can go through, even more, if you have children together. No one expects, or wants, for a relationship to go south and the time you both spent together to be considered wasted.

Due to the nature of the situation being already extremely stressful, it is in your best interests to distance yourself from whatever you possibly can during the legal process. For that, an experienced family Lawyers in Calgary can deal with all the legalities for you, saving you time, money, and stress.

On the next following topics, let us understand a little better some key questions related to divorce. A lot of people wonder how does the relocation work in cases of divorce or separation. We hope that we can elucidate those questions briefly and coherently.

What is Relocation?

In Alberta, the most important Act regarding this is the Divorce Act. Starting to be applicable on March 1st, 2021, the changes in the Divorce Act include the guidelines to grant a divorce.

Most people think that you simply need to sign off a document for divorce and that this will solve all your problems, but it is not exactly like that. The Divorce Act specifies that a couple must be living apart for at least one year and have the intention of having a divorce to be granted the divorce – and moving apart also means moving away from your child, or moving your child with you. 

Relocation is when due to moving, the parenting plan you had in place before with your ex-partner will no longer work. Not all movings mean relocation, but something such as moving to another province will most likely be.

Having the best interests of the child in place is extremely important to understand relocation, sometimes even a short distance move can impact the parenting schedule agreed upon and can be considered relocation.

If you are planning to move and you have parenting responsibilities, you will most likely need to give notice ahead of time.

The Moving Notice

You will need to notice, most likely, your ex-partner if they have parenting responsibilities or someone with a contact under a contact order.

Your notice needs to have certain elements to it according to the Divorce Act as well. If your move will not have an impact on the parenting schedule and responsibilities you may have, you may not be considered a relocation. You will still need to, however, notify everyone involved when the move is happening, the new address, and new contact information. This exists and is enforced to ensure all information is up to date on where the child will be staying, where to take the child and where to pick them up.

If the move will have an impact on the parenting schedule and responsibilities of the parent, then it is considered a relocation. In this case, you will need to give notice 60 days in advance and provide specific details about the move as per the Notice of Relocation. That means you will need to say when the move will happen, give your new address and updated contact information, as well as a notice saying how the parenting schedule can change to support the people receiving the notice regarding their relationship with the child, should the move take place, since it will create a new challenge and new parenting schedules.

There are a few exceptions that will not require you to give notice to the other person. If you fear for the safety of the child, or yours, you can apply to the Court to change the rules without telling the other party. By giving evidence of domestic abuse to the Court, they will support your request. Having a trustworthy Family Lawyer Calgary with you during this stage can be extremely helpful, if possible.

After the Notice

After the notice is given, both parties will need to keep trying to find a good common ground about a parenting schedule that ultimately benefits the best interests of the child before going to Court. 

If an agreement cannot be achieved, the person which received the notice has 30 days to object. If both guardians agree to the relocation, no objection is necessary. If one of the guardians does object, they will need to fill out the Objection to Relocation form, which will specify that you are objecting, why you are objecting, and your opinion on the proposed parenting schedule that was given. If you receive an Objection to Relocation, or a Court application requesting to stop the relocation is filed, then you cannot relocate the child until a judge analyzes the case.

The Court will then analyze the case and based on the child’s best interests they will decide if the child can or cannot be relocated. They will look at things such as the reason for the relocation, the impact of it, parenting time and more.

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