Life is always changing. A divorce is a major life change for spouses and their children, but as the wheel of time turns, another major change may come to a custodial parent’s life prompting them to want to relocate with the child. However, is this allowed in Pennsylvania?
Relocation in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, in general a custodial parent can only relocate with the child if the child’s other parent consents to the proposed move or the court approves the proposed move. There are notice requirements as well. The parent proposing relocation must give the child’s other parent notification by certified mail, return receipt requested at least 60 days before the proposed move or on the tenth day following the date the parent learns of the notification and could not have known of it sooner and delaying the move is not a reasonable possibility.
It is possible for the non-relocating parent to challenge the move in court. When determining whether to allow the proposed relocation to move forward, the court will consider several factors. The nature and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child may be considered. The child’s age, development and needs will be taken into account as will the impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development.
Whether it suitable child custody arrangements can be made if the relocation is approved may be considered. The child’s preference may be considered, depending on how old the child is and the child’s maturity. Whether one or both parents have tried to thwart their ex’s relationship with the child will be considered. Another consideration is whether the move will enhance the relocating parent’s quality of life and the child’s quality of life. Finally, the reasons for proposing relocation and challenging the relocation may be considered, as may any instances of domestic abuse.
Learn more about child custody in Pennsylvania
Making the decision to move can have a major impact on you, your child and your child’s other parent. It is not a decision to be made lightly, and as always, the child’s best interests must be kept in mind. Our firm’s webpage on child custody may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.