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  • Purves-Smith Law

Where a Family Court Case is Started


In family law cases involving children, the court case should begin in the jurisdiction where the children ordinarily reside. Determining a child’s ordinary residence is usually straightforward. However, the issue of a child’s residence can be complicated if one parent moves the child’s residence following separation. For example, if a parent takes a child from the family home to reside in a new city and then commences a court application in the new city, the other parent may seek to have the court case started in the city where he or she continues to reside in the family residence.


If your ex has moved your child to a different municipality and has commenced an application in the new municipality, you must act quickly to assert to the Court that the child’s ordinary residence is with you. If you act quickly, you may be able to get a judge to restore the child’s ordinary residence. However, if you delay, the Court may accept that you have acquiesced to the child’s new residence and the Court will be reluctant to change the location of the court case. As the Ontario Court of Appeal noted in Sodhi vs Shodi 2002 25 RFL 420 ONCA, the longer the child has been in a new situation (or city) — however it may have been created — the more closely the court will have to focus on the child's best interests, as opposed to any violation of parental rights.