Parental relocation: what are the laws in Pennsylvania?

If you feel the need for a major lifestyle change or a fresh start after your divorce, you’re not alone. It’s common for other big changes, like a new job or a cross-country move, to follow your change in relationship status. However, if you have children with your ex and are planning on taking them along with you, there are rules and procedures that must be followed.

In Pennsylvania, the term relocation usually refers to a move a significant distance away that may impact the nonresidential parent’s ability to exercise parenting time. A move across town is not likely to be an issue, but if it will take the child out of the county or even the school district, you’ll need to give the other parent notice. You are also required by the current custody law to provide a very specific Counter affidavit to the other parent that they must file timely if they object to your proposed move.

In general, you are expected to notify the other parent of the upcoming move at least 60 days in advance. However, if there are circumstances that prevent you from being able to give that much notice – such as a company transfer – you must notify the other parent within 10 days of when you were aware of the upcoming relocation. You will need to provide the other party with date of the relocation and new address if available, as well as the name of the new school district and any proposed changes to the custody agreement or parenting time schedule.

The other parent will then have 30 days to object to the relocation. If there is an objection, there may be temporary court orders put in place that the children cannot be moved until the case goes before the judge. How long it will take to resolve the issue and come up with an adjusted custody and parenting time agreement largely depends on the circumstances of the case and the two parties involved. However, any time there is an objection to a parental relocation, it can get complicated quickly. It’s important to get information from an experienced family law attorney on how to properly file a notification of relocation and your options in the case of an objection.