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When parents divorce, they will hopefully remain geographically close so that both parents are able to spend time with the children. However, there are circumstances that may make relocating the best option for the children. Parents in Pennsylvania who want to relocate after a child custody order is in place need to understand the proper procedure as well as the consequences for not following it.

Not every move is defined as a relocation in terms of custody. Changing residences only qualifies as a relocation under Pennsylvania law if it significantly interferes with the non-relocating parent’s ability to exercise their custodial rights. There is no definitive mileage radius or state boundary that determines this, so it can seem vague and frustrating. Unless everyone who has custody rights to the children involved agrees, a judge has to approve the relocation.

Even if everyone approves, proper notification has to be given by certified mail with return receipt requested. Notice must be given 60 days before the date of the proposed move. If it is not possible to give 60 days’ notice, then notice must be given by the 10th day after the parent who wants to relocate knows about the relocation. However, this abbreviated notice is only acceptable if the relocating parent did not know about the relocation in time to give 60 days’ notice and it is not possible to delay the relocation.

If the other parent objects to the move, they have 30 days to file an objection. Even if there is no objection from the other parent, there are documents that must be filed with the court. Failing to follow proper procedures can result in unwanted consequences. An attorney with experience in child custody issues may be able to help guide parents who wish to relocate through the process to ensure the best possible outcome.