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how does custody work if one parent is moving out of province?

Anonymous Asked:

This is somewhat complicated. My partner and I dated long distance for a number of years (me in Toronto, him in Montreal). I became pregnant last year and moved to Montreal for the end of my pregnancy and parental leave. I would now like to return to Toronto (for my job) however my partner does not want to move and would like to stay in Montreal. It is also worth mentioning that he (my partner) has a son whom he has custody of for 50% of the time.

I'm open to a shared custody arrangement for our daughter, however I would like to have primary custody of her in Toronto (I'm open to any kind of shared custody agreement with him). My partner insists on remaining her primary care giver and keep her here in Montreal. The confounding factor is that he travels up to 50% of the time for work, so I'm not sure what his plan would be for her care while he would be away if I were not here.

I suppose my question is: how does custody work if one parent is moving out of province? I assume I can't just take my daughter to Toronto with me while we work out a separation agreement? Do I have to get my partner to agree that I can take her to Toronto with me while we sort out a separation agreement? Does this have to be in writing?

Many thanks.

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Andrew Heft
6 years ago

You will need the father's authorization to relocate our-of-province with the child, failing which you will need to get a Court order authorizing the move. In any case, if he does authorize you to leave, get it in writing with details as to your actual agreement, terms and conditions.

Concerning custody, it will have to be evaluated based on the child's best interest and who would be better suited to take care of the child at this stage of her life. Joint custody would most likely not be possible at such a young age and considering the great distance between Toronto and Montreal. At such a young age, when possible, Courts usually encourage more frequent contact between the child and the parents, thereby minimizing as much as possible long periods of time where one or the other parent would be absent. If this is not possible then a strong primary caregiver is usually encouraged to foster as much stability as possible in the life of the child.

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