Pittsburgh Child Relocation Lawyer
Relocation of a child after parents have separated can be complicated, especially if that location involves a great distance of moving out of state.
Although not always easy, a divorce can be a fresh start. You may find it a good opportunity to move away from your ex and put the past behind you. But when children are involved, one parent’s decision to relocate can affect both parents’ custodial rights.
Child relocation can be complicated, but an experienced Pittsburgh child relocation lawyer can help ensure the courts hear your request.
Child Relocation Laws in Pennsylvania
Child relocation is defined as “a change in a residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a nonrelocating party to exercise custodial rights” in Title 23 § 5322 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Essentially, you or the other parent must move far enough away that your custody agreement must be reevaluated.
How to Relocate with a Child
Whether you are offered a new job out of state or want a new start, if a custody order is in place, a parent can only relocate their child by taking legal action. This process can vary, but it usually requires:
- Provide at least 60-day advance notice to all custodial parties.
- Obtain agreement from all custodial parties or court approval. If objected, the non-moving party must prove relocation harms the child’s welfare.
The court evaluates the child’s best interests, considering factors like attachment to parents, the child’s age, the feasibility of maintaining relationships post-relocation, and the child’s preference.
You Need Consent or Court Approval to Relocate a Child
For a child to legally be relocated, one of the following must occur:
- everyone with custody rights of the child must consent or
- the court has to approve it ( 5337).
If you do not have written consent from every necessary party or court approval and relocate a child anyway, you could face interference with custody of children charges—a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania.
Giving Notice of a Proposed Relocation
The spouse who plans to move must formally notify every other person with custodial rights to the child. A child relocation lawyer can help you draft a proposal that covers all of the essential elements and is sent by mail no later than 60 days before your relocation (or the 10th day after you know you are moving).
A notice of proposed relocation must contain the following information, if available:
- The address of the intended new residence.
- The mailing address, if not the same as the address of the intended new residence.
- Names and ages of the individuals in the new residence, including those who intend to live there.
- The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if available.
- The name of the new school district and school.
- The date of the proposed relocation.
- The reasons for the proposed relocation.
- A proposal for a revised custody schedule.
- Any other information that the party proposing the relocation deems appropriate.
They should also attach a template for a counter-affidavit that the other parent or whoever has custodial rights may fill out and file if they reject the proposal.
What Happens After a Relocation Notice is Filed?
If all parties accept the relocation, the proposed custody schedule is officially in place, and everyone who signed must adhere to the agreement. An attorney can help you review the relocation notice before signing to ensure that your needs and best interests are considered, as well as your child’s needs and best interests.
What If Your Ex Doesn’t Consent to Relocation?
If any custodial party objects to a proposed relocation, they can file the provided counter-affidavit. Your attorney can help you state your reasons for rejecting a proposal and file the document with the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas on your behalf.
The final decision on whether a child relocation may occur is determined at a court hearing, where a judge reviews the proposal and counter-affidavit.
The Factors Considered in a Child Relocation Request
As with any agreement involving kids, the Pennsylvania courts evaluate child relocation requests based on what is in the child’s best interest.
The “best interest” of your child is dependent on a few factors, such as:
- The child’s relationship to both parents
- How a relocation would likely impact the child’s development
- The financial circumstances of both parents
- The child’s preference, if they are mature enough to give input
- Both parents’ reasons for and against relocating
- Any abuse or continued risk of harm to the child by either parent
Of course, there are many other factors that the court may consider when deciding whether or not your child should be relocated. Your child relocation lawyer can anticipate common issues and questions to best prepare you to give your case for wanting or rejecting a proposed relocation.
Contact a Pittsburgh Child Relocation Lawyer Today
Relocating with a child can be more complicated than you expect, especially if another party has custodial rights. If you need to relocate with a child or want to oppose the relocation of your child, Pittsburgh family attorney Anthony Piccirilli can help. The custody lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC know that these situations can create turmoil, but we can guide you every step of the way.
We’ve helped countless parents maintain the custodial relationship they want with their —without sacrificing the freedom to live where they want. Let us help you, too.