The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the custodial parent may not automatically relocate a child without the other parent’s consent. The decision to enable moving a child must be made considering the child’s best interest under both federal and provincial legislation. The key takeaway here is a mother can not move with the child without father’s permission.

Let’s know why.

Can Mothers Take the Child Without the Father’s Permission?

If the parents are not married, the mother automatically wins child custody under family law. Unwed women do not need to go to court to battle for their child’s custody rights, including choosing the father’s role in their child’s life.

In Canada, mothers have more exclusive custody of their children than fathers. The court gives child custody following a divorce or dissolution of marriage.

What Is Losing Custody?

When the matter is taken to court for resolution, the judge may declare joint or sole legal custody. Sole custody indicates that the child’s decisions are made solely by one individual.

In joint custody, visitation or parenting time for the father may be equal to that for the mother. However, when a father loses custody of his child, he is no longer allowed to reside with him, and the court may limit or regulate visitation. He may also lose joint or sole custody decision-making rights, such as where the child lives, goes to school, and other areas of the child’s life.

Why Would a Father Lose Custody?

A mother cannot legally keep her child from the father without a court order. However, there are various reasons why a court can allow a mother to keep her child away from the father.

Some of the reasons are as follows:

Child Abuse

The most common reason for a parent (or mother) losing child custody is child abuse. Bruises, scars, wounds, and burns are common signs of physical abuse. Physical abuse is frequently masked as corporal punishment even though there is no distinct line between good discipline and abuse.

Contact the appropriate authorities if you feel the co-parent is mistreating your child. Child abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional) is a good ground for losing child custody in most regions.

Child Abduction

Child abduction is a common reason for losing child custody.

False Child Abuse Allegations

When a spouse or partner falsely accuses the other of physical and/or sexual abuse towards the child, they risk losing child custody. If you seek sole custody, lying to the court would be a severe infraction, especially when it comes to child abuse. The dishonest partner may lose custody of the child.

Child Neglect

In circumstances of child neglect, the court may allow a woman to keep the child away from the father legally. Child neglect is a type of child abuse that can be difficult to prove in court.

People who see your child regularly, such as teachers, doctors, grandparents, friends, and others, might be useful allies in proving child maltreatment. Unfortunately, many parents fail to notice indicators of neglect. For your child’s sake, you must act.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and child custody collide in some family law matters. When this occurs, the judge’s focus will shift to determining if domestic violence occurred and whether there is evidence to warrant the accused losing child custody.

Substance Abuse

It is legal for a mother to keep the child from the father if he uses alcohol or drugs. In general, judges are not sympathetic to parents who abuse drugs or alcohol; even vaping might be considered a substance addiction in some situations.

However, if the alcohol abuse is only sporadic, the mother may find it difficult to keep the farther away from the child legally. Also, a parent may lose custody if he gets charged with reckless endangerment or DUI.

Right of First Refusal Clauses

In a child custody case, a right of first refusal clause requires one spouse to provide the other parent with the opportunity to care for the child before arranging a babysitter or a family member. This condition applies to scheduled and unscheduled daycare, doctor’s appointments, and vacations.

Not all custody agreements include a right of first refusal clause, and they must be attached to the order for it to be effective.


It can be said that legally, a mother can’t keep the child from the father without probable cause. However, considering all constraints, if either parent fails to maintain a right of first refusal clause regularly, the parent may be found in contempt and/or lose custody of the kid.