I don’t have a court order about parenting. Can I move with my child?

4. Go to court

If your partner or anyone else involved with your child still doesn't agree to you moving with your child, and a move will have a big impact on their relationship with your child, you usually have to go to court. The law calls this type of move a relocation.

Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it's sometimes necessary to decide your issues. This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case.

Start a family court case through an Application

If you don't already have a and no one has started a family law case yet, you need to fill out Form 8: Application General. This starts a family court case.

The judge makes a decision based on the test. The most important factor in the best interests test is your child's physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being.

The judge also looks at other things related to the move, including:

  • the reasons why you want to move
  • how the move will impact your child
  • if you followed previous agreements, orders, or laws
  • how the move impacts anyone with rights to make decisions or spend time with your child, and what you plan to do about it

The court cannot consider whether you may move without your child if the court decides your child cannot move with you.

Burden of proof

The court looks at evidence from all about why a move is or is not in your child's best interests.

The burden of proof refers to which person must give evidence to prove their case. For a relocation, it depends on how much time the child spends with you and your partner. For example:

  • If your child spends substantially equal, or almost equal, time with you and your partner under an agreement or arbitration award, you have the burden of proving that moving with you would be in the best interests of your child.
  • If your child spends the vast majority, or almost all, of their time with you under an agreement or arbitration award, your partner has the burden of proving that the move is not in your child's best interests.
  • If neither applies, you and your partner both have the burden of proving whether the move is in the best interests of the child.

Steps in a Family Law Case can help you understand and work through the family law court process in Ontario.

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