10933 Jane St, Maple, ON L6A 1S1, Canada

2 County Ct Blvd Suite 400, Brampton, ON L6W 3W8

21 King Street West, 5th Floor, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4W7

45 Sheppard Ave E Suite 100, Toronto, ON M2N 5W9, Canada

2 St. Clair Avenue West, 18th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4V 1L5

Good Reasons to Relocate a Child: Navigating Family Decisions 


“I’ve never walked out from a court session with him disappointed…

Barry really saved my life and my son in that situation”

Reasons to Relocate a Child

The process of getting a divorce is never an easy ordeal, especially when there are children involved. In some cases, matters may become more complicated when one parent wants to move away from the other, taking the child with them.

The consequences of child relocation are often referred to legally as “mobility issues,” and are a complex area within family law. Such a decision demands a careful balance between the custodial parent’s rights to move and the non-custodial parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child.

In this article, we will discuss the legal implications of child relocation in Ontario, shedding light on good reasons to relocate a child as well as the steps to build a solid case for relocation in court.

What Is Relocation?

Canadian law defines relocation to be any move that results in the agreed-upon parenting time schedule between two ex-partners being compromised. Even if the move is a relatively short distance away, it would still be classified as a “relocation” if the parenting schedule is affected.

Child relocation is when the child is also part of the move. In this scenario, the child is entering a new environment while also losing access to being near one of their parents. Hence, this matter is even more sensitive as it will affect both the child’s future and current relationships.

When is Child Relocation Valid in Ontario, Canada?

In Canada, when a parent wants to move with their child, both parents need to agree according to the Divorce Act. If they plan to relocate, the parent who wants to move must prove it’s in the child’s best interest based on Section 16.93(1) of the Act. However, if a child lives mainly with the parent wanting to move, as per an existing agreement or court order, the other parent must show why the move wouldn’t be good for the child. 

This approach comes from a 1996 Supreme Court decision that highlighted several critical points for courts to consider regarding child relocation, such as 

  • the importance of what’s best for the child rather than what a parent wants
  • the need to keep the child in close contact with both parents
  • taking the child’s opinion into account
  • the impact of the move on the child’s life, including changes in family, community, and school, and
  • whether or not the move helps meet the child’s needs.

Relocate a Child

Good Reasons to Relocate a Child

Good reasons to relocate a child often pertain to enhancing the child’s overall quality of life and well-being. Below are several reasons why the relocation of a child may be a good idea.

Educational Opportunities

Moving to a place with high-ranked schools can help a child do well both academically and socially. Such schools have many learning tools, including the latest technology, special classes, and highly qualified teachers. They may also feature a wide range of extracurricular activities and special programs that help kids get better at what they love.

For a parent considering relocation, choosing to live in an area for increased educational opportunities ensures a child has the best chances to learn and succeed in the future.

Healthcare Services

Moving to an area with excellent healthcare facilities ensures that children and their families can access various medical specialists, cutting-edge treatments, and preventative care. This can lead to a healthier childhood, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses and improving quality of life.

The availability of top-notch healthcare services can also contribute to peace of mind for parents, who know that their child’s health needs can be promptly and effectively addressed. This supports the family’s overall well-being, allows for a focus on preventative care, and instills a culture of health that can last a lifetime.

Safety and Stability

For a child’s well-rounded growth, a safe neighborhood serves as a crucial component. It ensures that children can explore, learn, and play without the constant threat of danger, fostering a sense of freedom and creativity.

Families can provide their children with a nurturing environment by moving to a region characterized by safety and community. This security allows children to engage more freely in outdoor activities, enhances their ability to form trusting relationships with peers, and contributes to developing a positive outlook towards their community and society.

Cultural Diversity

Exposing children to a culturally diverse environment can significantly enrich their perspective, promoting inclusivity and deepening their understanding of global cultures.

Living in a culturally rich area helps children learn and appreciate different traditions, languages, and ways of life. This exposure fosters empathy, adaptability, and communication skills, which are essential in today’s interconnected world.

Reduced Conflict Between Parents

In some cases, maintaining some temporary distance between divorced parents is a necessary step to achieve peace in the family. Planning to move can also help parents communicate and understand each other better, reducing stress and making family life more peaceful. This can be great for the child’s growth and happiness.

This decision focuses on bettering the child’s future, helping parents work together instead of arguing. This is beneficial for the child and his parents, helping them to align towards the same goal of their child’s well-being.

Building a Strong Relocation Case in Ontario, Canada

Steps towards Building a Strong Relocation Case in Ontario

You will need to obtain permission from the court before you can move away with your child. This will require you to have a strong case proving that your decision to relocate is in the best interest of your child.

Below are some of the steps you can take before presenting your case in court to ensure you are successful.

Consult with a Family Lawyer in Advance

Before making any final decisions about relocating, it is crucial to consult with a family lawyer. Legal professionals are well-versed in the nuances of family law and can provide invaluable advice. 

They will guide you through the legal framework governing child relocation, ensuring that your decision aligns with legal requirements and is in your child’s best interest.

Prepare a Detailed Pros and Cons List

Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of relocation. This list should cover your child’s well-being, including education, healthcare, social environment, and emotional benefits or drawbacks. Transparently weighing these factors will help you form a balanced perspective on the move’s potential impacts.

Collect Evidence 

Compile evidence and documentation that supports each point on your pros and cons list. This can include school reports, job offer letters indicating financial stability, medical assessments, or other relevant information. Concrete evidence will be essential in demonstrating to the court or your former spouse the rationality behind your decision.

Prepare a Comprehensive Parenting Plan

Develop a solid parenting plan that addresses how you and your former spouse will manage parenting time and responsibilities after the relocation. This plan should consider the new logistics and aim to maintain a strong relationship between the child and both parents. This plan must prioritize the child’s needs and ensure stable, continued development.

Consider Discussing Your Plan with Your Former Spouse

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, approach your former spouse with your relocation plan. Open, honest communication often leads to an agreement that avoids lengthy legal disputes. 

Remember, the discussion should focus on the child’s best interests and how the relocation supports those interests. Mutual understanding and compromise are essential in these discussions to ensure a positive outcome for your child.

Navigating the legal complexities of child relocation also requires a nuanced understanding of family law. The amendments to the Divorce Act reflect a comprehensive approach to addressing mobility issues, focusing on the child’s best interests while balancing the rights and responsibilities of both parents. If you’re in Toronto in need of expert legal advice, contact us to help get all your questions answered.

Key takeaways:

▪ Canadian law defines child relocation to be any move made by a parent and child that results in the agreed-upon parenting time schedule for the child to be compromised.
▪ If a parent plans to relocate with their child, they must prove it’s in the child’s best interest based on guidelines laid out in the Divorce Act.
▪ Good reasons to relocate a child include educational opportunities, healthcare services, safety and stability, cultural diversity, and reduced conflict between parents.
▪ To build a strong case for relocation, you should consult with a family lawyer, prepare a pros and cons list, collect evidence, prepare a solid parenting plan, and have a conversation with your former spouse.

Did You Know

Most abusers’ behaviour stems from feelings of privilege and entitlement and learned attitudes.

These can be extremely challenging to change. They must be deeply committed to making lasting changes to their behaviour. 

Published On:March 19, 2024