Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Dr. Peter Jaffe



The present study examined multiple factors that may account for Canadian judges’ decisions in relocation cases where one parent contests a move away by the other parent and children after separation. The decisions were collected from a stratified random sample of judgments consisting of 50 cases where the relocation was approved and 50 where it was denied. The cases reviewed took place between 1996 and 1999 and followed the highly criticized Supreme Court decision in Gordon v. Goertz.

Cases were analyzed to determine the extent to which child, parent, judicial, move, and legal factors predicted court outcomes. All identified factors were screened for significance at the univariate level. Moves were significantly more likely to be approved by the court in the face of thorough planning, a good reason and clear benefits for the move, and the non-moving parent’s prior limited access with the child. Moves were significantly more likely to be denied by the court in the face of a prior shared parenting plan. Binary logistic regression analysis was applied to the outcome and two factors were found to be predictive of approved moves: in particular, judges’ analysis of parents’ reason for and planning of the move were the most powerful factors in predicting the outcome. Implications for legislative reform and suggested guidelines for the court are discussed from the perspective of enhancing predictability for parents and lawyers considering litigation in regards to relocation.