Bethlehem Child Relocation Attorney

Family Law Attorney Serving The Lehigh Valley

Where one parent wishes to move with the child a significant distance away from the other parent, the non-moving parent's custodial rights may be affected. At Littner, Deschler & Littner, we recognize what an emotional challenge such a move presents, both to the parent who wishes to move and to the parent who stays behind. We have attorneys who are experienced in handling relocation cases who are here to help you achieve a favorable result. We have represented both types of parents - the one who wishes to move and the one who will be left behind.

In Pennsylvania, no parent can "relocate" with the child without either a court order or the permission of every individual with custody rights to the child. A relocation is defined as a "change in a residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a nonrelocating party to exercise custodial rights." A parent need not wish to move outside the state for the move to be a relocation. Any move, of whatever distance, which significantly impairs the custodial rights of the non-relocating party is considered a relocation.

Prior to relocating, a parent who wishes to relocate must notify every other individual who has custody rights to the child. This is very important. If you relocate before obtaining a court order or the consent of any non-relocating party, your unapproved relocation can be used against you in court. Recent changes to the relocation rules suggest that a parent who wishes to relocate must provide notice to the non-relocating parties regardless of the distance of the proposed move. If you wish to move with your child, and you have doubts as to whether the law considers the move to be a relocation, you should consult with an experienced child custody and relocation attorney before moving. Likewise, if the other parent has moved away with the child prior to obtaining your consent or a court order, you may wish to consult an attorney to see if your custody rights have been violated.

The non-relocating party can object to the proposed relocation and to any proposed modification of the existing custody order. When relocation is contested, the court, after a hearing, must decide whether to permit the relocation based upon whether it is in the child's best interest. Under Pennsylvania law, the court's best interest analysis is guided by a series of factors, such as the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the child and the non-relocating party and whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life of the child and the relocating parent.

Relocation cases are often complicated matters. The law governing relocation is relatively new and, therefore, is in a state of constant development. If you are a parent seeking to relocate, or if you are a parent who will be left behind by a relocation, it is critical that you consult with an experienced child custody and relocation attorney in order to protect your rights and the rights of your child.