Nowadays, it’s not unusual for people to move numerous times throughout their lives. The reasons can be many — for example, needing to relocate for a job, for education, to be closer to loved ones, to buy a new home or just to get a much-needed change of scenery. However, when you’re a divorced parent who also wants to safeguard your custody rights, relocating can be trickier. 

Of course, when you plan to move, you’ll desire to bring your child with you. But there are laws you’ll need to carefully follow first. The issue of relocation under Pennsylvania’s Child Custody Act cuts to what matters most — seeing your kid. 

Understanding Pennsylvania relocation law

Under the child custody act, the moves that are problematic are the ones that impact the ability of your child’s other parent to spend time with them. Relocation is defined as a change in the child’s residence that would substantially impair the ability of the non-relocating parent or guardian to use their custodial rights. 

In fact, a general rule of the act states, “No relocation shall occur unless:

  1. Every individual who has custody rights to the child consents to the proposed relocation; or
  2. The court approves the proposed relocation.”

Furthermore, if you want to relocate, you must also notify the child’s other parent by certified mail at least 60 days prior to your move. They then get 30 days to file a response to your notice, either consenting or stating they object to the move. If the other parent doesn’t respond, then consent may be assumed and the court will likely approve the relocation. Whether you get their consent for the move or the OK from the court, you’ll need to also submit a proposal for a new parenting plan.

Finding legal help

If you are a parent seeking to relocate with your child or if your ex-spouse is planning to move away with your kid, it’s crucial that you understand your custodial rights and your legal options. Talk to an experienced and compassionate Pennsylvania attorney who can help you through the process and try to find collaborative solutions.