A question that often arises when a parent has custody of a child is whether that parent may move, or in legal terms, relocate, without the permission of the other parent. Pennsylvania custody law makes it clear that the answer to this question is “no.” Section 5337 of the Pennsylvania custody law defines under what circumstances a parent may relocate with his or her child. Generally speaking, a parent may only relocate with the child under two circumstances:
- if everyone with custodial rights to the child consents, or
- the relocation is approved by the Court.
The statute sets up complicated procedural benchmarks which must be met prior to the occurrence of a relocation. Notice to the affected party or parties is vitally important, as a Court may find that the failure to notify a party of the proposed relocation is important evidence in deciding whether to grant the relocation. Courts do not look favorably on one parent who decided to do a custody “snatch” and simply move away with the child(ren).
If the parties do not agree to permit the relocation, the Court will weigh 10 specific factors, as required by the law, in determining whether the relocation should occur, including factors such as:
- the child’s relationships with the relocating and non-relocating party
- the child’s preference, taking into account the age and maturity of the child, and
- the reasons for the relocation and the opposition to the relocation.
Contact a Family Law or Custody Attorney
If you are thinking about relocating with your child, this is not something that should be embarked upon without the contemplative guidance of a custody attorney. Contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Trinity Law today. Our attorneys routinely handle Pennsylvania custody relocation cases in York, Lancaster and surrounding counties.