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Pennsylvania relocation laws and how they affect child custody

If you are a Pennsylvania resident considering relocating, it’s essential to understand the state’s relocation law and how it could affect your child custody arrangement. Under Pennsylvania law, there are specific factors that a court will consider when determining whether a parent can relocate with their child. Depending on your circumstances, the court might grant relocation (with or without the child) or change your existing child custody order.

Moving without the child

If a parent decides to relocate without the child, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • The age and developmental stage of the child
  • The relationships between the parent and the child
  • The impact of relocation on extended family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles
  • How much contact will be available between the parent who relocates and the child at their new location
  • Whether or not there is agreement from both parties about moving to a new location.

If the judge decides that the relocation is in the child’s best interest, for example, if the move improves their quality of life, they may grant a parent permission to relocate without the child. However, they will have to amend the child custody arrangement to reflect the new circumstances.

Moving with the child

If a parent wishes to relocate with their child, they must provide written notice of the proposed move to any other custodial or noncustodial parents. This notification must be made at least 60 days before the relocation and should include information about where you are moving and when. A court will then decide whether to grant permission for this type of relocation by considering the child’s best interest and the potential impact of the move on their relationship with the non-relocating parent.

It is important to note that relocation cases are highly fact-specific, and the court will deal with each situation differently depending on the individual circumstances. However, the basic steps include notifying the other parent and the court of your intended move. Failing to do this can lead to losing custody rights or even the potential for criminal prosecution.