Both divorced parents and parents who have never been married may need to move away from the Harrisburg area for a number of good reasons. Sometimes, a job opportunity to may require a move.
In other cases, a parent may just want to have his children experience the support and companionship of extended family members.
Like other states, Pennsylvania puts some instructions on the circumstances in which parents who are raising kids in separate homes and thus subject to child custody orders can move.
Relocations require the consent of either the court or of the other parent
Basically, the parent who wants to relocate will need to get the other parent to agree to it. Doing this may involve some negotiation of a new parenting plan.
If the other parent does not agree for whatever reason, then the parent who wants to move will have to follow a process for getting the court’s approval.
This process may seem complicated, but the idea behind it is that the parent wanting to move will have to provide the other parent with 60 days of notice and a chance to object either to the relocation of the child or to proposed changes to the existing parenting plan.
As a word of caution, Pennsylvania’s laws do not have a precise definition for relocation, as a relocation can be any permanent move that makes it more difficult for the parent who is not moving to exercise her rights.
Parents should review their court orders and strongly consider speaking to a family law attorney before planning a move, as not following the legal process can make it more difficult for a parent to complete her planned move.
A relocation hearing may be necessary
If the parent who is not moving does not object after receiving notice, then the parent who wants to move may find rather simple to get the court’s approval.
If the other parent does object or wants changes in the proposed parenting plan, then the court will hold a hearing where both sides can present evidence and arguments. The court will apply a number of factors when making a decision.