A Voice of the Child Report Brings a Child’s Perspective into Family Litigation
November 21, 2022
Mobility cases typically arise when the parent with whom the child primarily resides wishes to relocate to a different jurisdiction with the child. A parent’s right to move with the child to a new jurisdiction is a commonly litigated issue and court decisions vary significantly from one case to the next. What may be allowed in one case may be denied in another based on the specifics of the case and what is determined to be in the best interests of the child.
At Long Shariff & Associates, our family lawyers work hard to protect and preserve your relationship with your child. We understand how emotionally taxing parenting issues can be, particularly when faced with the possibility of less contact with your child due to physical distance. Conversely, we also understand that in some situations, relocating is a difficult but necessary and ultimately beneficial decision. Our lawyers work with clients on both sides of the issue, always placing an emphasis on keeping family relationships intact, and recommending options that are in the best interest of the children, no matter the outcome.
The Divorce Act sets out a detailed process co-parents must follow before a parent is permitted to move with their child, including notice and judicial resolution protocols in the event of a dispute. The primary focus in any mobility dispute is the best interests of the child, and the Divorce Act has expanded on factors to be considered when determining those interests.
A parent proposing a move that is expected to significantly impact the other parent’s parenting time must provide at least 60 days’ written notice to the other parent. The notice must include details such as the planned moving date, the proposed address, and a proposal for a revised parenting plan to reflect the change in location. If the other parent objects, they must do so in writing within thirty days, including their reasons for the objection. Either parent can then bring the matter before a court for determination if they wish.
Courts have always considered a child’s best interests when deciding mobility applications; however, the Divorce Act now lists seven additional criteria to examine under this heading:
Preserving a child’s relationship with each of their parents is paramount in all mobility matters. For this reason, we advocate using a collaborative approach to resolving these issues. Our partners, Jennifer Long and Romana Shariff, are trained collaborative family lawyers. Our firm often encourages the process as a first step for all family disputes, particularly for high conflict matters where family dynamics may be threatened. The process encourages cooperation and looks for out-of-the-box solutions that can work for both parents. We find this extremely helpful for resolving a matter more quickly, and with less family fallout than traditional litigation.
The compassionate lawyers at Long Shariff & Associates regularly work with clients on both sides of parental disputes involving mobility. We will bring our entire team to the table when necessary for each client to ensure their interests are protected.
We have the distinction of being the largest family law firm in Stouffville, and we regularly work with clients from often-underserved surrounding communities including Brooklin, Mount Albert, Durham, and Ballantrae. We also regularly service the Markham, and Toronto area. Our experience in litigation, mediation, and collaborative family law gives us a unique perspective on the various approaches to resolving mobility disputes effectively and efficiently. To review your matter with a member of our team, please reach out to us online, or call us at 905-591-4545.
November 21, 2022