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Pennsylvania’s Child Custody Law was modified in January 2011, and the most recent law included several modifications regarding relocations involving minor children. The law now provides specific steps that the parent requesting the relocation must follow when the move would substantially interfere with the other parent’s custodial rights. There are two ways the relocation can occur:
1) each person with custodial rights agrees to the proposed move, or
2) the Court must approve the relocation.
The new law requires that the parent planning to move must inform every individual with a custodial right of the proposed move. This notice must be in writing and sent to each person by certified mail, return receipt requested. With few exceptions, notice must be given at least 60 days in advance of the proposed move. This notice must include a detailed list of information pertaining to the proposed new residence, the new school district, the date of the proposed relocation, detailed information on household members, why the relocation is desired, and a proposed custody order.
After receiving notice of the proposed relocation, the other parent can either agree or object to the proposed relocation. The parent must file in Court within thirty days of receiving notice of the proposed move. If an objection is filed, a hearing will be held where the objecting party may oppose the proposed relocation, the proposed revised custody schedule, or both. If an objection is not received within the required time limits, the other parties cannot object to the relocation in the future.
When deciding to approve or reject a proposed relocation, the statute provides several factors that the court will consider. These factors include, but are not limited to: the child’s relationship with the relocating and non-relocating party, the likely impact of the relocation on the child, the reasons for the relocation, and whether the relocation will enhance the child’s quality of life. The list is not all-inclusive, as the court can consider any factor that affects the best interest of the child. If the court ultimately approves the proposed relocation, the court will either modify the existing custody order or create a new custody order.
If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Douglas Wortman or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at www.medveskylaw.com.
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