Is It Possible to Relocate With Children After the Divorce?
March 29, 2023
Divorce brings about significant changes in a family’s dynamic. One of the biggest changes is relocation following divorce. Moving with children after a divorce can get tricky, depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
At Iwanyshyn & Associates, we strive to deliver skilled and compassionate child custody and family law legal counsel in complex divorce situations. We help folks in Allison Park and the rest of Pennsylvania solve the most complicated challenges they may face during divorce proceedings. If you live anywhere in the state, including Pittsburgh, Wexford, Cranberry, and Gibsonia, set up a consultation with our divorce attorneys today.
Relocating With Your Child After a Pennsylvania Divorce
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there were over 31,000 divorces statewide in 2021. No matter where you live in Pennsylvania, the issue of child custody and moving out of state with children following a divorce can become a significant point of contention.
It is possible to relocate with a child following a divorce in Pennsylvania. However, if parents share custody, they must obtain consent or seek permission from the court before relocating. If they cannot obtain consent, they will need to demonstrate to the court that the relocation is in the child’s best interests. Following the proper legal procedures and obtaining the necessary documentation before relocating is important to avoid violating any custody or visitation agreements.
When a custody agreement is in place, parents wishing to carry out a relocation after the divorce must comply with certain notification requirements. Specifically, they must provide written notice to the other parent at least 60 days before the proposed relocation. The notification of intent to relocate must include the following information:
The address of the intended new residence, including the state and the physical address, if known
The names and ages of the individuals living in the new residence
If applicable, the name of the new school district and school that the child will attend
The date of the proposed relocation
A proposed revised custody schedule
Failing to provide the required notice—or if the other parent objects to the relocation—the relocating parent may be required to attend a hearing to determine whether the proposed relocation is in the child’s best interests. At the hearing, the relocating parent must present evidence to support the relocation request. The court will consider various factors, which may include the reason for the relocation, the impact on the child, and the availability of alternative custody arrangements.
Factors the Court Will Consider
The court may consider the following factors before deciding on a relocation request:
The reason for the proposed relocation, including the potential benefits for the child and the relocating parent
The potential adverse impact of the relocation on the child's physical, emotional, and educational development
The availability of alternative custody arrangements that may be in the child's best interests
The child's relationship with each parent and the potential impact of the relocation on that relationship
The distance of the relocation, including the practicality of preserving the relationship between the child and each parent
Each parent's history of compliance with the custody order and involvement in the child's life
Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent
The potential impact of the relocation on the child's extended family relationships
The child's preferences, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference
Visitation for the Non-custodial Parent
When the custodial parent relocates with a child after a divorce, the non-custodial parent has the right to continue visitation with the child. However, the visitation schedule may need to be modified to account for the distance between the non-custodial parent's residence and the child's new residence.
Please note that the court may also consider alternative visitation methods, such as video conferencing or phone calls, to ensure that the non-custodial parent can maintain a relationship with the child. Above all, both parents need to cooperate and communicate effectively in developing a visitation schedule that works for everyone involved. Occasionally, of course, there may be major obstacles on the path to agreement. That’s where a divorce attorney can be a vital asset.
Detailed & Compassionate Legal Counsel
At Iwanyshyn & Associates, our attorneys strive to solve complex child custody and relocation cases. Reach out to us today for skilled family law guidance.