If you’re divorced and planning to relocate with your child, you’re going to have to take necessary steps to do so legally. Otherwise, you could risk losing custody.

Pennsylvania law doesn’t make a distinction between relocating out of state, or just beyond a certain mile radius. As long as the move “significantly impairs” the other parent to exercise his/her custodial rights, it’s considered a relocation—and both parents have to be on board with the decision, or court permission to move is required.

The law specifies exactly how and when you notify the other parent. You must send the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, 60 days before the proposed relocation. If you did not know, and could not have reasonably known, about the relocation in enough time to give 60 days’ notice, the law allows some leeway. In that case, you may give notice on the tenth day after you learn about your move.

The notice you provide will need to include the following information:

  • Your new planned address and telephone number
  • Names and ages of all who will reside there
  • The name of the child’s new district and school
  • Reasons for the relocation
  • Proposal for a revised custody schedule

In making a decision, the court will consider a variety of factors, including:

  • The child’s age, developmental stage, and needs
  • The child’s relationship with both parents, siblings and other significant people in his/her life
  • The child’s preference (taking into account his/her understanding and maturity)
  • The quality of life offered by the relocation
  • The possibility of preserving the relationship with the non-relocating parent
  • Whether the parents have positive motives or questionable ones in making or blocking this move

Jurisdictional issues are confusing and can be very complex. At Williams Family Law, our Bucks County child custody lawyers have extensive experience handling complex custody cases. If you have questions please contact Williams Family Law at 215-340-2207, or email info@bucksfamilylawyers.com.