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Family law: Bill C-78 passes, addresses relocation of children

One of the most difficult decisions for divorcing parents to make is whether relocating their children would be in the children's best interests. Family law in British Columbia can provide the guidance parents may be seeking when relocation is on the table. Things can become especially problematic when one parent wants to relocate with the children and the other is not in favour. 

Bill C-78, which recently passed through parliament without amendments, updates family and divorce laws so more disputes can be settled out of court. The bill also amends language that has to do with custody. This bill stipulates that the custodial parent or the one who makes major decisions must give 60 days notice to the other parent if he or she wants to relocate. The other parent has 30 days to review the request and to file a formal objection if he or she doesn't agree.

If the other parent doesn't file a formal objection within that window, the children can be relocated. Critics of the law say that it may open the door to increased litigation since the 30-day time frame to respond may not be long enough. Critics says the bill would be more helpful if the relocation request was filed in court with notice that the other parent has been informed, and if there is no objection, the relocating parent would be given an order allowing relocation.

But the Bill C-78 was pushed through without any changes. When there is a new family law that affects British Columbia residents, getting the advice of a lawyer before making any decisions that could affect children, is crucial. A lawyer may be able to offer guidance on how to proceed when it comes to relocating children after the divorce or separation of their parents.

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