Family violence can include a range of behaviours such as harassment, threats, financial or physical abuse to name a few. None of which are easy to cope with, especially when children are involved. If you are seeking to relocate with your children, it is important to know what steps you need to take to do so.
In the recent case, Bhadauria v Cote, the parents were unmarried therefore the Children’s Law Reform Act (the CLRA) applied.1 The CLRA states that a person who seeks to relocate with a child must inform any other person who has decision-making responsibility, parenting time or contact under a contact order.2 However, the CLRA also states that the court can dispense the notice requirements if the court believes it is appropriate to do so if there is a risk of family violence.3
In the case noted above, the mother relocated from Ottawa to France with the child without informing the father or obtaining a court order to do so.4 For the Court to dispense the notice requirement, the mother needed to provide evidence that there was a need to relocate due to family violence without seeking one of those methods first.5
The mother in this case was unsuccessful and had to return to Ottawa as well as hand over the child’s passports to the Court.6 She did not provide sufficient evidence to show that the relocation to France was a last-minute decision, that there was risk of family violence occurring, or to explain why she could not begin a court proceeding prior to her relocation.7
If you are seeking to relocate due to fears of family violence, contact a family lawyer to determine what the best course of action is for your specific scenario. It is important to position yourself as best as possible in these situations to achieve a successful relocation.
The sooner you align yourself with a lawyer familiar with family law in Ontario the better off you will be in securing yourself and your children.
1 2022 ONSC 3088
2 Children’s Law Reform Act, R.S.O., c. C.12, s.39.1(1)
3 Children’s Law Reform Act, R.S.O., c. C.12, s.39.1(3)
4 Bhadauria v Cote, 2022 ONSC 3088