Moving with Children Post Divorce – Keeping v Keeping, 2021 ABQB 892

In a recent decision out of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Keeping v Keeping, 2021 ABQB 892, an #applicant father brought an emergency application for the return of the #child after the mother relocated with the child to the Maritimes.

The parties were #divorced in 2018 and there was one child from the #marriage. The Divorce Judgment specified that the parents shared custody over the child with the mother having primary parenting and being responsible for the day-to-day decision making in the best interest of the child (para 4).

The Court summarized the timeline of events leading up to the mother’s relocation, confirming that she sent a letter to the father via registered mail on July 15, 2021 notifying him of her intention to move with the child pursuant to Section 16.9 of the #DivorceAct, which states:
16.9(1) A person who has #parenting time or decision-making responsibility in respect of a child of the marriage and who intends to undertake a relocation shall notify, at least 60-days before the expected date of the proposed #relocation and in the form prescribed by the regulations, any other person who has parenting time, decision-making responsibility or #contact under a contact order in respect of that child of their intention.
(2) The notice must set out
a)     the expected date of the relocation;
b)     the address of the new place of residence and contact information of the person or child, as the case may be;
c)      a proposal as to how parenting time, decision-making responsibility or contact, as the case may be, could be exercised; and
d)     any other information prescribed by the regulations.

Justice Leonard found that the father “chose not to participate in the process” (para 44) and that his refusal to engage in the process “places the burden on the relocating parent and undermines the predictability of the codified relocation notification process” (para 45).
Summarily, Justice Leonard dismissed the Father’s application on the grounds that the mother had complied with the provisions of the Divorce Act, having provided sufficient and adequate notice of her intention to relocate.

Full case is available on CanLii:

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