Relocation and Child Custody
When a court issues a custody order, it is based on the circumstances of the parents and child at the time of the order. However, we all know that circumstances change, and a custody and visitation arrangement may no longer be appropriate. In such cases, a custody case must be reopened and any modifications must be approved by the court.
One major circumstance that can create the need for a custody modification is when a custodial parent wishes to relocate with the child. Parents may have many reasons for wanting to move with their child, however, Pennsylvania law prevents them from simply moving away without permission if the move would significantly impair the other parent’s right to exercise visitation or custody rights. Moving without proper permission can result in potentially serious legal consequences.
First, the parent who wishes to relocate must notify the other parent of their intentions. There are strict requirements for providing proper notice more than 60 days prior to the move date. If you fail to provide proper notice, the court may use that as a factor in deciding whether to allow the relocation and may even impose other penalties.
If the non-moving parent receives notice and agrees to the move, the custody agreement can be modified accordingly and submitted to the court for approval. However, in many cases, a parent may not want to lose access to their child and regular visitation, so they may file an objection to the move with the courts. The court will then consider several factors when deciding whether to allow the relocation, including:
- Whether there is a valid reason for the move
- The nature of the relationship between the child and the non-moving parent
- How the relocation will affect visitation
- The child’s preference (if they are old enough)
- Other factors that may decide whether the relocation is or is not in the best interest of the child
Whether you are seeking to move or objecting a proposed relocation, it is important to have an experienced attorney who understands how to present your side of the case to the court.
Call for a Consultation with our Skilled PA Child Custody Attorneys
If you want to relocate with your child or you want to stop your child’s parent from moving, the experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz in Philadelphia are here to help you. We understand how important your relationship with your child can be and can work to protect your rights as a parent. If you are facing a custody case or require an enforcement or modification, please call our office at 215-545-2880 to learn more about how we can assist you.