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Relocation: Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot to think about when moving- packing and unpacking, finding a new home, registerting for a new school.  For families with parents who are no longer together, there can be another consideration important not to overlook.   Relocating even just over county lines when that move could impact custody time of the non-moving party, triggers a specific area of the Pennsylvania Family Law Statute.  It is important to know how to go about informing the other party of your move and in some cases how to ask court permission from the court.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about relocation:

  1. What if I just leave and don't follow the process? The other parent will likely file an Emergency Custody Petition with the court seeking to have the child returned.  This unilateral decision can be held against you when the court does consider whether or not to grant your request to move.
  2. How are the words "substantial impairment" defined from the definition of relocation?: There really is no exact definition. A good rule of thumb to consider would be if the move makes it impossible or difficult for the non-moving parent to see the child under the schedule you currently have or at all, you most likely need persmission to move. 
  3. How long does it take to complete the court process? This truly depends on the county where you reside and where you must file.  Some counties are able to get the parties in for a hearing sooner than others.  There is unfortunately no way to expedite the hearing process.  If you want to plan ahead for the start of a new school year, it is best to file sooner rather than later.
  4. What factors does the court consider? In addition to the sixteen custody factors in the Statute, there are ten additional relocation factors.  These factors include the quality of schools at the new location, whether there are family members at the new location, the reasons why a party wishes to relocate, the willingness and ability of the relocating party to have the non-relocating party enjoy custodial time, and many others.

If you or someone you know is thinking about relocating and needs the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, contact The Law Office of Diana C. Schimmel, Esq. today to schedule your initial consultation.  

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