After a separation, often one parent may want to move to a new location, whether it is to change jobs, for a new partner, or to return to a hometown. Regardless of the reason, every member of the family is potentially impacted by the move. Ontario does not have any legislation that addresses this issue. This leaves Ontario courts and lawyers advising families to look to the Supreme Court of Canada case, Gorden v. Goertz, for answers. Gorden v. Goertz offers very general guidance, which includes considering the “best interests of the child”. It would be very helpful for courts, lawyers and families to have clearer guidelines on the relocation of children after a separation. However, the Supreme Court of Canada has not allowed any appeals on this issue in quite some time. In addition, it does not appear that government is planning to address this issue in legislation.
In a recent analysis conducted, the courts appear to have allowed approximately 50% of parents to relocate with children after a separation. Although, the reason for the relocation (ie. job opportunity, family support, etc.) did not seem to make a difference to the result. However, the greater the involvement of the non-relocating parent did make a difference to the result. The more involvement, the less likely the relocation would be allowed. The wishes of the children were also occassionally considered.It will be interesting to see if new guidelines are impletemented in either case law or legislation to make this area of family law clearer for all those involved.