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Can I move with my child to a new city after I divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Custody

Summer is a popular time for families in Lancaster to move from one city or state to another, since the relocation would not disrupt their child’s school routine and would give the child a chance to adjust to their community before the new school year begins.

But if you are divorced, you might not be able to just pick up and move with your child, even if you want to.

Moving with your child after divorce

Whether you can move away with your child after a divorce depends on how the move would affect the other parent’s custodial rights.

Parental relocation, under Pennsylvania law, does not have a geographic scope. In Pennsylvania, a relocation is any change in a child’s place of residence that would have a significant impact on the other parent’s ability to enjoy their child custody rights.

If a parent wants to relocate with their child after a divorce, either the other parent must agree to the move or the relocation must be approved by a judge.

The judge’s primary consideration is how the move would affect the child’s safety. Some other factors the judge will base this decision on include the child’s relationship with the other parent, the child’s age and needs, the reason for the move and whether abuse is an issue.

There are certain notification requirements that must be met and certain timeframes that must be followed if you wish to relocate with your child post-divorce. You also must provide the child’s other parent with information about where you want to relocate, why you want to relocate and present a suggested custody schedule.

Relocation can be a difficult issue. Ultimately, relocation must be in the best interests of the child. Parents might have their own reasons for wanting to relocate, but if doing so would harm the child’s well-being or would substantially interfere with the other parent’s custody rights, they might need to reconsider the move.