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Preparing for a post-divorce relocation

Those who go through a divorce in Pennsylvania are no doubt anxious to move on to the next chapter of their lives. One part of that new chapter may include a move to a new area. Indeed, according to the website, over 10% of Americans relocate annually (with a change in marital status ranking among the 10 most common reasons why people move).

Yet for all of the desire one may have to move on after their divorce, their ex-spouse will still likely maintain a presence in their lives. This is especially true if a divorced couple has children together, A move will certainly impact their custody arrangement. This prompts the question of what one who wants to relocate with their kids needs to do in order to avoid having their custodial rights negatively impacted.

Providing prior notice of a pending relocation

According to Section 5337 of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes, a divorced parent wishing to relocate must provide all parties with an interest in their custody arrangement at least 60 days notice of their intentions. The only exception to this would be cases where one needs to move within the next 60 days (in which case, they still must notify all parties within 10 days of learning of the need to move).

Modifying a custody agreement

The non-relocating parent in this scenario can object to the proposed relocation after receiving notice. This objection may include a petition to keep their ex-spouse from moving. The court will then hear both sides’ arguments regarding the move (with the burden of proof falling on the relocating parent to show why the move would be in the kids’ best interest). In many cases, the court may not bar the person from moving, yet it will likely modify the couple’s custody agreement to ensure the non-relocating spouse remains a consistent presence in the children’s lives.

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