It’s natural that divorced and separated parents are not going to necessarily agree on all aspects of how they should raise their child or their children. In most cases, separation agreements or orders following a divorce will outline which parent is responsible for decision-making, or what the process is when an impasse is reached, and an agreement is needed. One example of when this might happen is if one parent wants to move and take the child with them. This is a situation that recently came up in a decision from the Provincial Court of Albert.
Father asks court to prevent mother from moving
Both of the parents involved lived in Grand Prairie. The court stated that the parents had a “fling” which resulted in the mother becoming pregnant. The parents had a brief dating relationship in April 2019, after the child was born, but it did not last.
At the time of the hearing, the child was two years old. The mother has another child, though the father involved in this decision is not the father of that child. The court stated that the mother had stability issues in Grand Prairie and wanted to move to Red Deer with her current boyfriend in order to get a fresh start. This relationship is fairly new, and the mother does not have any family in Red Deer, though she does have extended family in Grand Prairie.
The father has never been married. He is originally from Atlantic Canada but moved to Alberta seven years ago for work. He has been with the same employer that entire time.
A parenting order is issued in 2019
In the summer of 2019, the mother said she went on an out-of-province vacation with the child. The father said he was worried she had left to live there. The father’s response to the matter was to apply for a parenting order. The mother consented to a parenting order and she was granted primary decision making and parenting time with the child, while the father had parenting time every second weekend. The parents followed this order for the last couple of years, with the planned move to Red Deer being the only major issue to arise.
The father told the court that he was an involved parent and spent extra time with his daughter on occasion. The mother says he has not been very involved.
The father’s position, as told to the court, was that he wanted to maintain the status quo and that he was not seeking primary parenting time. He also said that while he was critical of the mother’s lifestyle, he wasn’t looking to have her removed as the child’s primary parent.
A lack of flexibility
The mother moved to Red Deer in December 2020, and told the court that the father would not grant her any slack in relation to the ongoing parenting regime. Instead, he contacted the RCMP to have the child (and by extension the mother) returned to Grand Prairie. The court noted this was a “mammoth over-reaction and is typical of the father’s general attitude to the mother.”
The father had provided the RCMP with some text messages between him and the mother, and criminal charges were laid. However, they were withdrawn when the entire text history was revealed, and it was determined the mother’s actions did not result in a “flagrant, unilateral breach” as suggested by the father. Instead, the father’s texts seemed to imply that he was in agreement with the mother’s plans and was happy to still get the access agreed to in the parenting order.
The court ordered that the mother be able to move with the child, and that the father’s access would be extended but would take place just once a month in order to lessen the time the child would have to spend in the car.
Our Family law Team has a track record of successfully negotiating and mediating claims on behalf of our clients. Although we are capable advocates in the courtroom, we know that the best outcome is more often achieved through finding a solution that is mutually beneficial to you and your ex, and in coming to that solution amicably. For advice about child custody and access matters, contact us online or call 1-800-480-3534.