With joint custody, all significant decisions regarding your children must be made by agreement of both parents. If you wish to relocate with your children, their other parent must approve this move and changes to your custody agreement may be necessary to accommodate the move. If the other parent will not agree to the move, the matter is heard in court and a judge will decide if moving the children will be permitted or not.
Filing for Relocation
If you are thinking about moving with your children, you will need to consider whether or not the move is far enough that it requires Notice of Relocation to the other parent. Unlike other states with a minimum relocation radius, the standard in Pennsylvania is whether or not your move will affect the custodial rights of the other parent.
Thus, even a move to another county may sometimes qualify. It is a good idea to seek the advice of counsel early in your planning process.
The Relocation Process
To file for relocation, you should find a trusted family law attorney who you believe can help you put the best possible case for relocation together. You will first need to notify your child’s other parent of the planned relocation at least 60 days before you plan to move with all of the relevant information they need to know. The relocation notice often includes:
● Address at which the children will live
● The school that the children will attend
● Identifying information about everyone who will be living with the children
● The planned relocation date
● Why the relocation would be in the child’s best interests
● Why the relocation is being requested
● How the current custody arrangement could be upheld or any modifications that may need to be made
When creating your relocation notice, your attorney can help you create the written document that you will serve to your child’s other parent. After receiving the notice of relocation, the child’s other parent then has 30 days to file an objection with the court.
There will then be a hearing where the relocation will be presented to a judge, who will then review the case and ultimately approve or deny the relocation. When reviewing the case, the judge will focus on whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. The burden of proof is on the moving parent. The moving parent should specify exactly how this move can benefit the child and how the moving parent plans to support the child’s relationship with their other parent.
The court will review this case and any motions submitted by the non-moving parent before making their final decision. If the relocation is approved, the court will issue a new child custody order modifying the prior agreement or order. If the relocation is not approved by the court, then the parent cannot move with their child and will need to make alternate arrangements.
What To Do If Your Spouse Files for Relocation
If your spouse files for relocation, meet with your child custody attorney and read the notification documents thoroughly. If you believe that the relocation is not in your child’s best interests, you can file an objection to the relocation.
Montgomery County Relocation Attorneys
At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, we understand that you want to give your children the best possible opportunities as they grow up. Whether you are moving for a new job opportunity, to be close to your family, or so your children can have better educational or athletic opportunities, we are here to guide and support you through the relocation process. Likewise, if you are objecting to a move that you feel is not in the best interest of your children, we are skilled at handling both sides of relocation matters. With our experienced team of attorneys, you can rest assured that we will do everything possible to help your family during this challenging time.
Schedule a consultation with our Shemtob Draganosky Taylor team today by calling us at (215) 544-3974 or filling out our online contact form.