What is the test for a parent seeking a change in custody of their child?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from C.J.C. v. J.F.Y., 2003 BCSC 247 (CanLII):

I turn first to the issue of custody. The parent applying for a change in custody must satisfy the court that there has been a material change in the circumstances affecting the child: see Gordon v. Goertz, 1996 CanLII 191 (SCC), [1996] 2 S.C.R. 27. In that case, the court laid out three factors to be considered. The first is whether there is a change in the condition, means, needs or circumstances of the children or the ability of the parents to meet the children’s needs. The second is that this change must materially affect the child. Third, the matter must be something which could not have been reasonably contemplated by the judge who made the initial order.

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