If you have a custody order that allows partial custody to father or visitation to father, you must petition to relocate. It sounds like you have a strong argument to allow you to do so because you and your children will have a better support network and a better place to live. Do not violate father's custody by simply moving. Go to court.
I agree with Attorney Sipe. If there is an existing custody order, you will have to file a petition to relocate and will likely have a relocation hearing shortly thereafter.
Even if there is not an existing custody order, you may still want to go through the custody process to get one. If you just up and leave, Dad can file an emergency petition and bring you back to Erie to fight it.
I strongly recommend you speak with an attorney.
It can be very hard to live with a PFA when you have left home to be with that person. But that is nothing compared to your safety and your children's safety that led to the PFA. So, you need to hang in. The Pennsylvania custody statute does require 60 days notice for relocation, but that does not mean there aren't exceptions. If you had an attorney help you with your PFA, he or she may be able to help with referrals to attorneys. There seem to be two agencies in Erie working with victims of domestic violence - check the attached website for services in Erie County. They may be able to help not only with the custody issues, but also the economic issues. Don't give the person who abused you the advantage in custody of your kids by relocating without a court order. You will get through this - hang in there
Information provided is based on what is presented and should not be considered as legal advice, nor does this answer imply any attorney-client relationship.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about child custody law.