Whether you are the parent attempting to move with your child(ren) or you are the parent trying to prevent the move, there are requirements that must be met on both sides under the new PA Child Custody Law.
The parent wishing to relocate must send a written notification, as specified by the Pennsylvania Child Custody Law, laying out the proposed move and the proposed custody schedule along with a counter-affidavit for the nonrelocating parent to fill out. If the nonrelocating parent agrees to the proposed relocation and custody schedule, nothing else needs to be done or they can fill out the counter affidavit stating that they agree with the relocation and file it with the court. If the nonrelocating parent would like to attempt to prevent the proposed relocation, they MUST fill out the counter-affidavit and file it with the court within 30 days. Once this is filed, the trial court must then hold a hearing on an expedited basis prior to the relocation occurring, unless there are circumstances that require approval of the move prior to the expedited hearing.
During the hearing, the court must consider certain factors. These factors include:
- The nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child's relationship with the party proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating party, siblings and other significant persons in the child's life.
- The age, developmental stage, needs of the child and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child's physical, educational and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship with the nonrelocating party and the child through suitable custody arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.
- The child's preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
- Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of either party to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the other party.
- Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking relocation, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.
- Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.
- The reasons and motivation of each party for seeking or opposing the relocation.
- The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household and whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party.
- Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.
A parent wishing to relocate with their child(ren) or a parent wishing to prevent a relocation should not proceed without the advice of an experienced PA child custody attorney. If you would like more information on this matter, please feel free to contact our office at (717)761-1274 and set up a free initial consultation with one of our family law attorneys.