I have joint custody of my son, but my wife just moved out of the county without permission.
Can I take her back to court to modify his living situation? He has expressed a desire to stay with me.
In Pennsylvania, if a relocating parent’s move would significantly impact the non-relocating parent’s custodial rights, the relocating party must have either:
- The consent of every individual who has custody rights to the child; or
- Court approval before moving.
A party that chooses to relocate without the consent of the other parent or court approval risks the entry of a court order requiring the immediate return of the child.
Pennsylvania has strict requirements of formal notice prior to any relocation, and if the non-moving party properly contests the relocation, a relocation hearing will be held.
In Pennsylvania, if the moving party has failed to provide proper notice and has already moved, the non-moving party may file for an emergency or expedited hearing on the issue of relocation.
Whether a relocation is granted in Pennsylvania depends on factors such as how the relocation will affect the child, considering the “best interests of the child,” but also taking into consideration the feasibility of preserving the non-relocating party’s visitation time, whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking relocation and the reasons / motivation of each party regarding the proposed relocation.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”