Navigating parental relocation in child custody cases

Relocation can complicate child custody cases in Pennsylvania. When one parent wishes to move to a new location, it may significantly affect the custody arrangement.

Courts use multiple factors to determine whether to approve a relocation request. Understanding the legal process and considerations involved in these cases helps ensure a smooth transition for the child and both parents.

Giving notice

First, the parent who plans to relocate must officially let the other parent know. Pennsylvania law requires a written notice at least 60 days before the intended move. If the move must happen in less than 60 days due to unforeseen circumstances, the notice must be given within ten days of finding out about the move. This notice must include the following information:

  • New address and phone number
  • The name of the child’s new school
  • Reasons for relocating
  • A proposal for a revised custody schedule

After receiving the notice, the other parent has 30 days to file an objection if they disagree with the move. If there is no response, the nonmoving parent may lose the right to challenge the relocation. When the court receives an objection, it will schedule a hearing to determine whether the relocation serves the child’s best interests.

Granting a relocation request

To make a decision, the court considers the child’s age, needs, preferences and relationship with each parent. Other factors, such as the impact on the child’s education, family relationships and social life, also carry weight. If the move promises better opportunities for the child, like a better school or safer neighborhood, the court is more likely to approve the relocation.

The child’s well-being is the primary focus during this process. Both parents should strive to maintain healthy communication and collaborate on finding solutions that benefit the child. Ensuring that the child feels secure and loved by both parents, despite the changes, should remain the top priority.

Parental relocation in child custody cases can present challenges, but with careful planning and consideration, it is possible to minimize stressors and achieve a harmonious agreement.


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