What happens if one parent wants to move?

When one parent wants to move, and that move will have a significant impact on the child’s relationship with the other parent or other important people in the child’s life, it is called “relocation”.

Generally, a parent who wants to relocate must give 60 days written notice to the other guardians and to people who have contact with the children under an agreement or court order.

This relocation notice needs to be given whether you plan to move with the child or not. Only a court can make an exception to the relocation notice:

  • Where providing notice could create a risk of family violence, or
  • If there is no ongoing relationship between the child and the other guardian or person who has an agreement or court order for contact with the child

It may be that everyone can agree to the move, and the parenting time and contact arrangements can be adjusted to accommodate the move.

If a guardian objects to the move, they may file an objection with the court. When deciding whether to allow the move, a judge will consider a number of factors including whether the move is made in “good faith” and whether there are reasonable and workable arrangements that would preserve the relationship between the child and the other guardian.

A person who has contact with a child may not file an objection to the move. They may seek to change their contact arrangements to ensure a continued relationship with the child.

Sorting out relocation issues can be difficult. We recommend that you get legal advice if there is a dispute about moving to another location.

For more information, please Moving and travelling with your children on Legal Aid BC's Family Law in BC website.