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What if a parent needs to relocate after a child custody order?

Things change for people in Pennsylvania over the course of their lives. When new circumstances arise, they may need to make certain changes in their lives involving their children. Sometimes it means that the person needs to find a new job or move closer to a sick loved one, which requires that the person move their residence. This may not be that big of an issue when the person is single, but it can become a much bigger issue if the person has children.

It can be even more complicated if the parent is no longer with the other parent and both parents have child custody rights. Obviously moving a significant distance away from the other parent will have an effect on a parent's ability to exercise their custody rights. This does not mean that a parent can never relocate, but if both parents have custody rights then both parents need to consent to the relocation or the parent will need a court order permitting them to relocate with the child.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement on relocation, then a judge would ultimately make the decision for the parties. If that occurs, the judge will analyze a number of factors to make the decision. These include, but are not limited to, the child's relationship with each parent, the feasibility of maintaining the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent and other immediate relatives, the child's preference if old enough, how the relocation will benefit the relocating parent, how the relocation will benefit the child's overall well-being and others.

There are many reasons that parents need or wish to relocate with their children. This can become complicated when the parents are divorced and have a child custody order granting each parent custody rights. There are number factors that will be analyzed to determine whether to allow the parent to relocate. These are very fact specific, complicated cases though and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Title 23, Chapter 53 § 5337" accessed on July 12, 2017

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