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I don't have a court order about parenting. Can I move with my child?
You can usually move without anyone's permission if the move is not likely to have a big impact on your child's relationship with your partner or anyone with decision-making responsibility, parenting time, or contact. These used to be called custody and access.
For example, you can usually move without permission if the move doesn't:
- change your child's school or daycare, and
- impact anyone with rights to make decisions or spend time with your child.
But if your move is likely to have a big impact on your child's relationship with anyone with rights to make decisions or spend time with them, you usually need their permission or a new court order before you move. The law calls this type of move a relocation.
Without permission or a court order, you usually can't move very far from where you live now. For example, you cannot move to another province or country. And it might even be difficult to move to another municipality within Ontario.
Remember that it's usually best for your child to spend time with each parent. But there is no rule that each parent must spend equal time with the child.
If you go to court, the court looks at whether the move is in the best interests of your child. Step 4 has more information.
You don't have an agreement
If you've recently separated and don't have an agreement, it's usually a good idea to get your partner's permission or a court order before you move. This applies even if you've been parenting for a while without a formal document.
You have an agreement
You have a court order
If you have a court order about parenting time, decision-making responsibility, or contact, there are rules you have to follow if you want to move. Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.
Get legal help
You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand what the law says you need to do if you want to move.
If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide "unbundled services" or "limited scope retainer" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case. For example, they could help you complete your court forms, or prepare for a hearing.
If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.