Family law: Rules changing for international child custody

Family law: Rules changing for international child custody

On Behalf of Porter Ramsay LLP | Mar, 12, 2019 | Family Law

When divorced parents live in two different countries, decisions regarding children can be difficult. Family law judges in British Columbia have based their decisions regarding children’s living circumstances on parental intentions and circumstances, but that may all be changing. The Supreme Court of Canada recently said that these cases should be looked at taking all relevant circumstances into consideration.

In a recent ruling, the country’s highest court said that other factors should be considered when deciding on where a child should live permanently. Some of the factors include the child’s ties to the country in question, facts pertaining to the movement between countries, length of time spent in another country and how often the child visits that country. The court believes taking a more well-rounded approach to its decision-making in these instances may deter parental abduction cases. 

Some parents remove their children from one country for another in hopes that country will grant them custody. But the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which has be ratified by 100 countries, stipulates that children should be returned to their countries of habitual residence when removed by a guardian who should not have removed them in the first place. The courts however, make the decision on what that habitual residence is.

When a British Columbia resident is having a problem sorting out child custody issues, a family law lawyer can provide advice. The laws that govern children may seem confusing and a lawyer would be able to explain those areas of the law to his or her client that may seem complex and appear erroneous. It is better to have some idea as to what the law allows regarding children and custody than to make an unadvised error in judgment.

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