Whenever child custody issues come before the court, the court will act in what it believes to be the best interest of a child. This is especially important to remember if you or your former spouse is considering relocating some distance away or outside of the state of Pennsylvania. Regardless of whether you have custody of, or parenting time with your children doesn’t mean the court will approve your relocation. Even if a job opportunity, sick parent, or a new love interest requires you – in your mind – to relocate doesn’t mean the court will agree; rather, they will focus on what is in the best interest of your children.
Determining the Best Interest of a Child – What the Court will Consider
When a post divorce modification is filed regarding a proposed parental relocation , the court will consider the following:
- How likely is the move to improve the life of the custodial parent and child
- What is the motivation for the relocation
- Has the move been planned for sometime or is it due to a desire for a “sudden break or change”
- Will the move isolate the child from his or her relatives
- How disruptive will the move be
- Does the child have medical or education needs that will be threatened by the move
- Are the alternative arrangements that don’t require a relocation
- Will the relocation substantially disrupt visitation with the non-custodial parent
Parental Relocations: Understanding Your Custody or Parenting Time Rights
First, it’s essential to remember that each parent is legal required to honor the terms of their divorce settlement. Consequently, if a parent violates the terms of the custody arrangement approved of by the court, he or she can be held in contempt. This could result in changes to custody arrangements and further sanctions the court deems necessary. This means if either parent relocates without first filing for a post divorcement modification, he or she can be held in contempt.
Secondly, in Pennsylvania there are essentially two general kinds of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves living with either parent, dividing up the time between them equally (joint custody), or participating in their rearing on a regular basis. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to be involved in major life decisions regarding a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, participation in certain events, and other matters.
Here, even if a parent does not have physical custody but does have or shares in legal custody, their rights must be taken into account before any parental relocation can be approved.
Contact Jenkintown Parental Relocation Attorney Joanne E. Kleiner
If the court approves a parental relocation, the child custody agreement will need to be modified. For example, if the custodial parent intends to move to California, parenting time schedules involving vacation time, holidays, and how expenses are shared accordingly will need to be introduced and approved.
Protect your rights and those of your children – contact Jenkintown child custody attorneys at Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates today.