trapped. What can I do?
I am originally from [a foreign
country] - now I'm a Canadian citizen. I came to Canada in 2001 to
City XXX, in Province YYY . I married a Canadian women with whom I had a
child who is now 5 years old. We divorced three years ago with a lot of
problems. I have 50% custody - shared custody - but my ex has never signed a
custody agreement. I went to a judge and asked for it, and she mandated a
provisional 50 - 50 custody, and an evaluation to be done by [the
provincial] Justice [Department] - [It's] going to be finalized in few weeks.
My ex has several health
problems related to depression, so she changes views pretty often, which causes
a lot of problems. As an example, she sees our son as a child with a lot of
problems. She even told people he was autistic, which is false (studies
have shown this).
I am now re married to a
woman from my country of origin. We are living in City XXX. She is applying to
get her permanent residency. She does not speak the language and can not work
yet - [but she has professional qualifications in our country of origin].
Together we have a new born baby girl.
is my dilemma: I work as a consultant for a
company that wants to hire me, and relocate me to [my country of origin] - a big
jump in my career, and financially a very attractive opportunity.
ex will not allow me to take my son out of the country - Canada - for
visits without her company. [It goes without saying that this would complicate
visitations. But, even if we were to reach an agreement] I worry that she would
change her mind.
this move would be very beneficial for most of the members of my family -
my current wife could work and would feel happy in her country, my daughter
would be close to our extended family, but [I would only be able to see] my
son, would who I love very much, only few times a year.
question is, What can I do? I
feel trapped. My wife wants to move, and I feel if we don't do that, I may loose
her - and the baby. If that happens, they may want to move [back to our country
of origin]... and then, I am in the middle of another fight...
Disclaimer: Two of our staff
members discussed your question. They stressed that their comments and
suggestions should not be construed as legal advice; and must be understood as
based only upon the limited information you provided.
First, neither of our
consultants is fully aware of the legislation that applies in your province.
However, increasingly, courts in this country and others are requiring
separated/divorced biological parents of a child to remain in the same vicinity
so both parents are able to have liberal involvement with the child. For
example, we know of a case in this province (Alberta) where the biological
parents were ordered to remain living near enough to each other so that both
could remain involved with the child.
Second, many separation
agreements specify that neither parent is allowed to take the child out of the
country (even temporarily) without the other parent’s explicit approval.
Sometimes, if there are several kids, the children’s passports are divided up
between the parents to make it less likely for one or the other to flee.
So, there is a good
possibility that your question (Can I take my son out of the country when his
mother opposes it?) is a legal one that will be bound by legislation or a court
order. We would suggest that the likely answer is “No”. Moreover, we suspect
that doing so without the support of the biological mother might be risking very
serious legal charges.
The same would apply to
your current spouse and infant daughter. She probably could be restricted from
taking your daughter out of the country without your approval. However, if she
were of a mind to, she could leave the infant with you, and return to [your
country of origin] by herself.
Regarding annual or
quarterly visits with your child. The research is clear. Unless a parent has a
substantial involvement with their child (e.g., at least 30% custody), their
relationship with that child is almost certain to wither and die. If you decide
to return to [your country of origin] and leave your son here with your ex wife,
you are virtually ending your relationship with him. Moreover, you are not
likely to recover a meaningful relationship with him when he’s older and able
to choose to move to be with you. He will likely feel that you abandoned him,
and he will likely hold you to account for that in one way or another.
Furthermore, if you move
to [your country of origin] and your “Ex” stays in Canada with your son, but
then falls seriously ill with her assumed mental health problems, your son would
essentially be parentless. Unless you could somehow come to his aid, and/or
there were other family supports on the scene, it is conceivable that he would
become a ward of the courts—not the life most parents want to see their
Regarding the career
opportunity: Jobs and job opportunities come and go. Children, on the other
hand, should not. Deciding to have a child is, in essence, making a 30-year
commitment to be available to parent that child.
Our suggestions are:
a formal legal opinion or ruling to be certain of your rights, obligations
the offer of the job in Argentina.
and support your current partner in establishing a network of meaningful
connections with other women. Taking an ESL course and/or volunteering might
help her to learn English. The Immigrant Aid Society (or its equivalent)
would likely be an excellent resource for her.
to find ways to co-parent your son with your prior spouse without conflict.
Lingering conflict between the separated/divorced biological parents (as is
noted to be occurring between you and your prior spouse) can literally harm
the children caught in the middle of it.
Finally, we appreciate
that our comments are likely difficult to hear and consider, but from your
correspondence it is our belief that you are a good father who wants to do
what’s best for his family, rather than have others support him in making bad
All rights reserved. The reproduction, use,
distribution or storage or of this work, in whole or in part, by any and
all means, without the express written permission of the author, is