With the world becoming increasing mobile throughout the last several decades, parents of minor children often seek to move to another town, county, state, or even country. When a parent seeks to move with one or more of the parties’ minor children, regardless of how far the move may be, Pennsylvania courts often categorize the move as a “relocation.” For example, a proposed move within the same county but to a different school district is often considered a relocation. However, seeking to move a child to a different location or seeking an increase in the custodial time you have with your child—when neither parent is moving—is not a relocation, but a custody matter.
A parent seeking a relocation must give notice to the other parent sixty (60) days before the proposed move. The notice of proposed relocation must include several pieces of information, such as the address of the intended new residence, the names and ages of individuals in the new residence, and the reasons for the proposed relocation. The other parent then has thirty (30) days to file an objection. If no objection is filed, the non-relocating parent waives his or her right to contest the move and gives implied consent. If the non-relocating parent does timely object to the proposed relocation, court intervention is necessary prior to moving with the children. Moving with the children prior to a court decision could result in legal consequences.
The key analysis in any custody order or relocation decision is the best interests of the child or children involved. Therefore, the courts evaluate a number of factors when determining whether to grant a relocation, and no single factor is determinative. Some of the elements Pennsylvania courts consider are the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent, the child’s preference, whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life the child, and the reasons and motivation of each party for seeking or opposing the relocation.
Our firm is well-versed in relocation cases. If you are seeking to relocate, please contact our office so that we can arrange a complementary consultation with one of our attorneys.
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