When you and your ex-spouse share custody of your children, under state law, you must consider all applicable court orders and other legal arrangements before making life-changing decisions. When you’re thinking about moving with your children, for example, there are several hurdles to overcome because you can make it official.
There are strict rules in Pennsylvania when a parent who shares custody wants to move away with his or her kids. Parents cannot relocate with their children unless everyone with custody rights to the child consents to the relocation or the court approves it. According to Pennsylvania law, the parent who wants to move needs to notify the other parent who shares custody. The notification must generally include the following:
- The address, mailing address (if different), and the phone number of the new residence,
- Names and ages of the individuals who intend to live in the new residence,
- The name of the new school district and school,
- The date of the proposed relocation,
- The reasons for the proposed relocation,
- A proposal for a revised custody schedule, and
- Any other appropriate information.
When one parent notifies the other about a proposed relocation, the notification must include a counter-affidavit, which gives the other parent the option to object to the move and the modification of a custody order. The other parent has a set time limit after receipt of the notice to object to the proposed relocation.
Objecting to a Relocation
When a parent with joint custody receives a notice of a proposed relocation from the other parent, he or she may file an objection with the court. The court may issue a temporary order to prevent the move, and a hearing will take place to determine whether relocation of the children can take place.
In determining whether to grant a proposed relocation, the court will consider the following with the child’s best interest in mind:
- The child’s relationship with each parent, any siblings and other significant individuals,
- The age, developmental stage, and needs of the child and the likely impact of the relocation,
- How a modified custody arrangement could preserve the relationship between the nonrelocating parent and the child,
- The child’s preference based on his or her age and maturity,
- Whether either parent might be thwarting the relationship of the child and the other parent,
- If the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the parent and child,
- The reasons each parent is seeking or opposing the relocation, and
- Any evidence of abuse of the child.
The court will consider any other factors that might help result in a decision that reflects the child’s best interest. If the court approves the parent’s proposed relocation, it will modify any existing custody order or establish the terms and conditions of a new order.
Just like you do, the court cares about what’s best for your kids. While the process to move with your children may be complex, the resulting decision will be in their best interest.
Getting the Assistance of Experienced Lawyers
After divorce, parents benefit greatly from obtaining legal help when approaching any hearings or decisions that involve the court. The team at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel has assisted countless parents in modifying court orders for relocation and other purposes. Our lawyers know Pennsylvania custody laws inside and out, so we can help parents make the most informed decisions possible.
Feel free to contact our law firm if you share custody with your ex-spouse and you’re thinking about relocating. We can make sure you start the process on the right foot.