When Can Parents Relocate with Children After a Divorce?

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

Parents may spend significant amounts of time during a divorce or custody proceeding in Pennsylvania establishing custody and parenting time. There may be many discussions regarding what is best for the children based on the current circumstances of the children. The children may be fairly young at the time of the divorce though. What is best for a child who is three or four years old, may not be best for them when they are 11 or 12 years old.

Additionally, the circumstances of the parents may change over the years as well. They may remarry, obtain new jobs, need to move homes and experience other changes as well. Based on these changes the parent may want to modify custody and parenting time to allow them to relocate with the children. However, parents cannot relocate and modify these orders just because they want to.

Factors used to determine whether relocation is allowed

In determining whether to allow a parent to relocate with the children, the court will analyze a number of different factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The children’s relationship with the parenting wanting to move.

  • The impact of the move on the children’s educational and emotional development.

  • How difficult it will be for the children to maintain a relationship with the nonrelocating parent.

  • The children’s preference if they are mature enough to voice their opinions.

  • How the relocation will enhance the parent’s and children’s lives, including whether it will increase the parent’s financial situation to better provide for the children.

  • Other relevant factors based on what is in the best interests of the children.

Parents in Pennsylvania may want to or potentially need to move residences for various reasons. However, if the parent has a custody order with the other parent, they cannot simply just move. If the nonmoving parent does not agree to it, they may need to ask a judge to allow them to relocate and modify the custody order to allow for the move. These are very fact-specific matters though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.