Relocating Children Post Separation Family Law Toronto

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Gary Direnfeld

Relocating Children Post-Separation

There are so many reasons children may be relocated. Common amongst them are these three:

1. One or both parents move to a more affordable home in a different area;
2. A parent moves due to job relocation;
3. A parent moves to live with a new partner living in a different area.

All of these issues cause distress in the hearts of many parents. They worry that given the experience of the separation, a relocation is just another added change for their children’s adjustment. If the relocation alters the residential schedule and creates a greater challenge, then this too is distressing. Perhaps most contentious is when a parent seeks to move a distance that totally changes the residential plan.

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In the simpler of situations, it may be helpful for parents to realize that people and families move all the time for any number of good reasons. We typically do not worry that these changes will create harm for the children, although we do seek to minimize the impact of such change by facilitating friendships and activities where possible.

Where the change requires alteration of the residential schedule, hopefully the parents can be flexible and find some acceptable solutions to meet everyone’s interests.

Where the relocation greatly affects the residential schedule, if the parents cannot resolve this between themselves, several options remain. Those options include a consultation with a parenting expert who can advise and offer suggestions that accommodate the circumstances; a consultation with an assessor to inform the parents that if the matter becomes court involved, how an assessor may view the situation and advise the court; and Court intervention.

Of the reasons a relocation may come about, a substantial move that significantly alters the residential schedule tends to be the most contentious. If this becomes court involved, this can take quite a toll both emotionally and financially. The emotional toll is apt to extend to the children who may inadvertently feel that they are the cause of the parental dispute.

Parents are cautioned about enacting a major move prior to discussion with the other parent. If you have fears about the other parent’s response, then working it through with a counsellor, mediator or a reasonable lawyer can be of value.

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