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Understanding Pennsylvania relocation laws

In Pennsylvania, relocation with your child after a divorce is not allowed unless all the parties that have custody and visitation rights with the child consent to the relocation. Additionally, there are steps to follow when petitioning for permission to relocate and factors that the judge will consider.

The best interests of the child

With all decisions regarding custody, the best interests of the child must be protected. When a parent requests permission to relocate, the court will evaluate a group of factors as part of the decision process, including:

  • The quality of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s wishes on the relocation depending on their age
  • Benefits of the move for the child and the relocating parent, such as educational, emotional or financial benefits
  • Reasons why a parent wants to move or why a parent opposes relocation
  • Proposed custody and visitation schedule

Information needed by the court

The parent asking for relocation must provide specific information to the court. This includes:

  • Date of the proposed relocation
  • Address and telephone number of the new home
  • Names and ages of the residents of the new home
  • Information on the new school and school district
  • Proposed new custody schedule

What to do if the other parent opposes the relocation

When both parties agree to the relocation and the custody order modification, the process will be simpler. However, when one of the parents opposes the relocation, the parent who wants to move must notify the other parties of their intention to move at least 60 days before the move. That parent will then have 30 days to respond and file their objection. A hearing is then held to determine the outcome of the situation. If the relocation is granted, a custody order modification is made.

If you want to file for relocation, you will have the burden of proof to show that this is in the best interest of the child. Make sure to gather documentation and provide all information requested by the court to strengthen your case.