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Philadelphia Family Lawyer > Blog > Family Law > Can the Courts Block My Relocation if I Have a Child Custody Order in Place?

Can the Courts Block My Relocation if I Have a Child Custody Order in Place?


For parents who have a child custody order in place, moving is not as simple as just packing up and going somewhere else. Parents need to be aware of Pennsylvania law regarding relocation with a custody order in place. This is true whether you are moving to a new state or a county over. Pennsylvania’s relocation statute sets forth several requirements that must be met before a parent is allowed to relocate with their child. In this article, the Philadelphia divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will discuss how Pennsylvania courts handle relocation efforts when there is a child custody order in place.

What is considered “relocation” under Pennsylvania law? 

Moving within the same county is generally not considered relocation under Pennsylvania law. Relocation is defined as:

“A change in residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a nonrelocating party to exercise custodial rights.” (23 PA C.S. §5322).

Pennsylvania law does not establish a specific distance that qualifies as relocation under the statute. Instead, it defines relocation as any move that would make it difficult for the other parent to exercise their custodial rights under the terms of the custody order. In some situations, a move that does not cross county lines might be considered by the court as relocation. It simply depends on whether or not the other (nonrelocating) parent has their custodial rights impacted by the move.

Co-parenting can become more difficult when the children live far apart from the other parent. For this reason, the relocation statute requires that the moving parent:

  • Obtain the consent of the non-moving parent
  • OR receive court approval before moving with a minor child

You are required to notify the non-moving parent of your intent to relocate 

Pennsylvania’s relocation statute requires that any parent who is intending to move with a minor child first notify the non-moving parent of their intent. The notice must be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested. It must also contain the following information:

  • New address
  • New contact number
  • New school district
  • Names of those living at the new residence
  • The date of the proposed move
  • Reasons for the move
  • A modification proposal for a new custody schedule

The notice must be given 60 days before the date of the intended move or 10 days after the moving parent becomes aware of the relocation.

Can the courts block a relocation?

Yes. The non-moving parent has a right to object to the relocation. Once you provide notification, you are not automatically entitled to move. You must wait for the non-moving parent’s response and they can file an objection with the court.

The court will consider several factors when determining whether or not the move is permitted. The parent who is seeking relocation has the burden of proving that the move is in the children’s best interests.

Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Today

The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of parents who are attempting to relocate their children with a child custody order in place. Call our Philadelphia family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your next steps immediately.

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