Americans in general cherish our freedom to pick up and move, to seek a fresh start somewhere new. This idea may seem particularly appealing after a divorce.
However, if you have young children, and have a child custody order in place with your ex, you will find that moving can be complicated.
Under Pennsylvania law, both parents have custodial rights toward their children. If one parent wants to relocate in such a way that it significantly interferes with the other parent’s custodial rights, they must notify the other parent of their plans. They must also notify the court.
The proposed move may be out of state or it may be within Pennsylvania. What matters is that the move would be far enough away that it would interfere with the other parent’s ability to spend time with their child.
If the other parent consents to the move, then the parents modify their child custody order accordingly. If the other parent does not consent, they can file an objection with the court. The court will hold a hearing with the parents to determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child.
Relocation disputes can be difficult. They pit one parent’s freedom of movement against the other parent’s parental rights. Meanwhile, the court make its decision based on what it believes is best for the child, which is based on twenty-six factor considerations, sixteen (16) factors for best interest and ten (10) factors for relocation.
Moving out of state
Moving to another state adds another layer of complexity. Generally, the state where the child lives most of the time has jurisdiction over issues of child custody, so a move to a different state can mean addressing the possibility of dealing with another state’s court system.
Experienced attorneys help parents understand the issues, work through the paperwork and protect their rights, while keeping the child’s needs front and center.