Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Pennsylvania Child Custody Topic of the Week: Relocation

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Are you thinking about moving to a new home with your children? If you share custody of your child with someone else, you may need the courts approval or the permission of the other parent before you move. In today's blog, your Allegheny County child custody lawyers discuss everything a parent needs to know if he or she is considering relocating with their minor children.

Any move that can substantially impair the other custodial parent's right to see the children is known as relocation under Pennsylvania family law. So what is considered a move that would impact this relationship? Well, moving from one house that is 2 miles away from school, to one that is 5 miles away, is not considered to have a negative effect on the relationship between the child and the other parent. Moving from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, however, is a big deal and requires consent of the other parent or court approval.

What complicates the situation is the fact that PA family law does not indicate what distance would be considered too far for a court to need to step in. Family courts have decided not to set a legal distance because each case is so different from the next. If parents have a 50/50 custody arrangement and one parent decides to move from one county to the next county over, a court is likely to allow the relocation and continue with the same custody schedule. If the situation was a little more extreme and a parent wanted to move with the minor child from Pennsylvania to California, the court would need to determine if the move was in the best interest of the child and if so set up a whole new custody schedule.

If you find yourself looking to move from Pittsburgh to the other side of the state, the first thing you need to do is petition the court for permission to relocate and notify the other parent of your plan. If the other parent agrees to allow you to move with the child, then the court just needs to give its stamp of approval. If, however, the other parent doesn't want the child to move, the PA family court will hold a hearing to determine what is in the best interest of the child. A judge tries to avoid granting a relocation that will make the relationship between a child and parent nearly impossible, but may allow relocation for a parent who is moving in order to improve the family's current situation.

A person seeking to move with their child should never move without getting the permission of the other parent or obtaining a court order. If you or someone you know is seeking to move with their child, before any box is packed, the first thing you need to do is speak with experienced child relocation lawyers like our team at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. If you are considering moving to another city or state, and would like your minor child to move with you, contact our PA child custody lawyers today.

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