Child Relocation After Divorce: Legal Processes in British Columbia
Child Relocation After Divorce

Child Relocation After Divorce: Legal Considerations and Processes in British Columbia

The end of a marriage or long-term relationship can bring about numerous life changes, including decisions around relocation. For parents, the prospect of moving within or beyond British Columbia after divorce brings about unique and complex implications, all linked to ensuring the best interests of the child are kept at the heart of any decision. Navigating the legal considerations surrounding child relocation after divorce requires a deep understanding of the applicable regulations as well as the complexities involved in negotiating custody and parental rights.

In this article, we will explore critical aspects of child relocation following divorce in British Columbia. We will examine the factors that courts consider when deliberating on relocation petitions, the legal framework governing these decisions, the role of consent between the parents during the relocation process, and the potential need for mediation or litigation. Furthermore, we will discuss the importance of engaging accomplished family law attorneys to assist you in navigating these complexities and protecting your rights as a parent during this time of transition.

1. Best Interests of the Child: Determining Factors and Court Considerations

When deliberating on child relocation petitions following a divorce, the best interests of the child remain the paramount criterion. British Columbia’s Family Law Act specifically outlines factors that courts must consider when determining the child’s best interests, including but not limited to:

– The child’s health, emotional well-being, and educational needs;

– The child’s views and preferences, given their age and maturity;

– The impact that relocating may have on existing custody arrangements and maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents;

– The history of care, involvement, and support provided by each parent;

– The reasons for the proposed relocation and potential challenges or advantages that might arise from the move.

2. Legal Framework Governing Child Relocation in British Columbia

The Family Law Act in British Columbia governs the circumstances and processes surrounding child relocation after divorce. A crucial aspect of this legal framework involves differentiating between situations where parents share guardianship and those where one parent has sole guardianship:

– Shared Guardianship: In cases of joint guardianship, the relocating parent must provide written notice to the other parent at least 60 days before the intended move. The non-relocating parent then has 30 days to file an objection to the proposed relocation. If an objection is filed, the relocating parent must obtain consent from the other parent or a court order approving the move.

– Sole Guardianship: If one parent has sole guardianship, they can generally relocate with the child without needing the other parent’s consent. However, the non-guardian parent can still file an objection, and the courts retain the authority to intervene if they believe the relocation is not in the child’s best interests.

3. Consent, Mediation, and Negotiation: Navigating the Decision-Making Process

Reaching a mutually agreeable decision regarding child relocation after divorce can require extensive communication and collaboration between parents. The role of consent in the relocation process is significant, as obtaining the other parent’s approval can expedite the relocation process and minimize potential hardships.

If parents cannot reach an agreement through direct communication, they may consider engaging in mediation or negotiation with the assistance of skilled family law attorneys. This process allows both parties to work together, in good faith, to explore potential solutions and determine whether the proposed relocation aligns with the child’s best interests.

4. Litigation: Navigating the Courts When Agreement Seems Unattainable

When parents cannot reach a consensus about child relocation, or if there are substantial disagreements about the child’s best interests, litigation may become necessary. In these cases, the court will consider all relevant factors presented during the litigation proceedings and make a determination based on the child’s best interests.

Family law courts in British Columbia may grant permission for the relocation or impose certain conditions or restrictions, such as modified access schedules or parenting plans. Ultimately, the court’s decision will hinge on ensuring that the child’s safety, well-being, and interests remain the primary focus.


Navigating the complexities of child relocation after divorce in British Columbia necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the legal considerations and processes involved. Successfully addressing the challenges that arise during this transition often requires the support and guidance of skilled family law attorneys, such as those at Pathfinder Law, who are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for your family. Trust our experience in family law in Abbotsford and our dedicated team of legal experts to provide the necessary expertise, representation, and compassionate support during this difficult time. Our unwavering commitment to client success and our steadfast advocacy will help you face the challenges and opportunities associated with child relocation head-on, empowering you to make informed decisions for your family’s future.

Disclaimer – The information contained herein is of a general nature. It is not intended to be legal advice and it is not intended to address the exact circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You should not rely on or act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice and without a thorough examination of your particular situation.