If you are separated or divorced and have a custody agreement or order with your ex or parent of your child, an unsettling thought may be the idea of relocation. What if your former spouse decides to relocate to another state – or even another country? What would happen with your custody agreement? Would they take your child? Those questions can make you feel uneasy, but rest assured that there are statutes and rules that must be complied with in order for any relocation to occur.
According to the Pennsylvania Child Custody Act, a relocation is “a change in residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights.” In the past few years, the custody law in Pennsylvania regarding relocation was amended; it now provides for strict review by the court. Relocation is no longer permitted absent the fulfillment of strict notice requirements and the provision to the other parent of an opportunity to object in court, and approval by the party and/or court.
If you or your spouse or the parent of your child want to relocate and you have a custody agreement or order, the relocation would need to be decided upon in court. The relocation statute applies to relocation in all instances, even when there is not custody order in place. When a judge decides if the relocation is justified and acceptable, the best interest of the child is always at the core of the decision. Below are a few factors a judge may take into consideration when making their decision:
- Educational and other types of opportunities for the child
- Each parent’s career and earning potential
- Quality of life in the new location
- Family connections in the new location
- Availability of an alternative custody schedule
If you are served with notice of an intention to relocate by your spouse or former spouse or parent of your child, or if you believe it is in the best interest of your children that you be permitted to relocate with them, you should consult with a firm, such as ours, that focuses on family law and has a wealth of experience in the child custody realm.
Meet with our lawyers at Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby to discuss your situation thoroughly and assess your options for child support and child custody that is best suited to you and your children. To learn more, contact us online or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.