During spring and summer, apartment vacancy rates are up, and there are a lot of homes on the market. With children out of school, it may seem like the best time to move.
You need to think about arranging movers or renting a truck, paying necessary commissions and fees, and making necessary deposits. It’s a lot!
If you’re divorced and thinking of moving with your children, there’s even more to consider.
Giving the other guardian notice
Parenting agreements and court orders usually require that you give the other guardian notice of your move. Even without a formal agreement or order, moving will affect your children’s relationship with the other guardian. Giving him or her advance notice is wise.
Failure to give notice
You may instead decide to move without notifying the other guardian. In such circumstances, you could be accused of child abduction. The other parent could then apply for an order to have the children returned. There could also be long-term implications on your parenting agreement.
Deciding what’s in the children’s best interests
Although the law states that children should have maximum contact with both guardians, the other parent may not want you to move with your children. He or she can apply to the court and ask that a judge order that the children not be allowed to move with you.
When deciding whether moving is in the children’s best interests, the judge will consider
- the existing parenting arrangement
- the children’s views, if appropriate: very young children do not usually have a say in the move, while older children may be asked for their opinion
- reasons the guardian is moving (e.g., job transfer, better employment opportunity, increased family support at the new location)
- the relationship between the children and each guardian: the parent looking to move would need to provide evidence of a close relationship with the children
Keep in mind that moving may change your children’s present living arrangements. If you’ve always spent the most time with your kids, consider the impact a move will have on them if the other parent were to become their primary caregiver.
Relocation to another city could remove your children from family, schools and the community. Your children may spend a lot of time with extended family where you currently live: going somewhere there are no other family members could adversely affect them. Changing schools can also be especially hard if your children are involved in extra-curricular activities.
Before you move
Consider how your children will continue to stay in touch with the other guardian. Be clear about the efforts you will make to ensure contact continues. For instance, you may be able to suggest ways to keep in touch (e.g., by phone, in person, via email, or through other technology such as Skype or FaceTime).
Before you take any steps to move, be sure to talk with the other guardian. Speak with anyone who has contact with your children. This will help you work out a parenting schedule and avoid a court application.
In addition, before you move, consult with a lawyer to determine whether you’re allowed to move with your children. The Lift Legal team of family lawyers will help to protect your interests and those of your children, whatever moving arrangements you make.
The information on this blog and website is provided by Lift Legal for educational purposes only. It is intended to give readers a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Information contained in these pages should not be used in place of competent legal advice from a licensed, practising lawyer in Alberta. Furthermore, by using this blog and website, you understand that no lawyer-client relationship exists between you and Lift Legal.