Don’t Make A Move Without Talking to Us First
To real estate agents, the term “relocation” is all about moving their clients from one home to another. But to attorneys, especially those who practice family law, the term refers to the specific act of moving with children to a location that would significantly impair the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights. And the courts take the act very seriously as do our divorce lawyers here in Pennsylvania.
Parents who have obtained a Custody Order through the courts are informed of the requirements that they must follow in the event that either of them desires to relocate with the children. However, the requirements of relocation apply to all parents residing in Pennsylvania, regardless of whether they have a Custody Order through the Courts. Many parents that have never been through the Court process are unaware of these important requirements. So, if one parent wants to move and take the children with him or her, they need to clearly understand that they cannot simply do so without having followed the steps set out under the Custody Statute. That begins with serving a Notice of Intent to Relocate with the other parent.
That notice gives the other party a designated amount of time to respond and sets in motion a series of other very specific requirements which must be met before the children can be relocated. Parents who fail to follow these specific procedures can be ordered by the Court to return the children and may be subject to discipline by the Court. In assessing a request for relocation, the court will consider many factors, including:
• The extent of the parental relationship, including its duration.
• The age of the children and the impact of relocation on them.
• The feasibility of preserving the relationship (i.e. can other workable custody arrangements be made?)
• The children’s preference, contingent upon their age and/or maturity.
• Will the move improve or enhance the quality of life for the children and relocating parent, including financially and educationally?
• What is the motivation behind the request for relocation?
• What is in the overall best interest of the children?
Parents who want to make a request for relocation need to work with attorneys who understand the process. Our family law attorneys in York and Harrisburg have navigated scores of clients through relocation requests as well as many mediation services. Call us today to see how we can help you.