On November 24, 2011, BC’s new Family Law Act was introduced. This act will have wide-reaching effects on family law in the province. Here is a summary of one of the important changes. For more information, see the act itself and our introduction to the act.
The new Family Law Act sets out what must happen when a guardian wants to move with a child. (The current Family Relations Act does not talk about moving at all.)
Under the new act, a guardian who wants to relocate (move) with a child must give 60 days’ notice to every other guardian or person who has contact with the child, unless the guardian has obtained a court order that says he or she does not have to give notice before moving. A relocation is any move that will have a “significant impact” on the child’s relationship with the other guardian or person with contact (usually the child’s other parent).
A guardian who does not approve of the child’s move must file an objection in court within 30 days of receiving the notice. The guardian can object on the basis that the move is not in the child’s best interests.
If the guardians can’t settle their disagreement about the move and the guardian who is not moving has filed an objection, they will have to settle it in court.
The guardian who wants to move must prove to the court that he or she is moving “in good faith.” To determine whether someone is moving in good faith, the court must consider:
- the reasons for the move,
- whether the move is likely to improve the child’s or the guardian’s quality of life,
- whether the guardian gave notice of the plan to move, and
- whether the guardian has suggested reasonable arrangements to protect the child’s relationship with the person who is not moving.
If the person who is not moving is also a guardian, and the guardians have equal, or almost equal, parenting time, then the guardian who wants to move must prove that the move is in the child’s best interests.
Our thanks to JP Boyd for providing the background for this series. You can find more information on the new Family Law Act, as well as other family law issues, at his BC Family Law Resource Blog.