When divorce proceedings occur, child custody arrangements must be determined if the spouses are parents. When these arrangements are approved by the court, they are required to be followed because they are considered a court order, therefore it is the law. As the parents’ lives continue, they may face new opportunities that can change their lives. One of these changes may be a relocation. A parent may need to move to another location in the event of a job opportunity or a family matter.
When this happens and a custodial parent has to move, they typically want their child to come with them. This can create a difficult situation, as most non-custodial parents do not want their child to move away from them. It is important for non-custodial parents to know that during this time, they have the right to fight for their children to stay close to them.
Physical Custody vs Legal Custody
The two main types of custody arrangements cover the physical and legal custody of a child. While these are two different concepts, neither one of them is necessarily more important than the other. They apply to two different parts of a child’s life. Physical custody determines the custodial parent, with whom the child spends most of their time. This means the child will usually live with them, but spend time in their other parent’s residence as well.
Legal custody gives a parent the right to be involved in making important decisions for their child. This can include matters such as medical treatment, the child’s education, religious practices, and more. This type of custody allows a parent the opportunity to be a part of the major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This can include their relocation. Even if a parent does not have physical custody, they can still have a say in whether or not the child moves.
Pennsylvania law defines relocation as “a change in residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights.” This states that relocation cannot occur unless everyone who has custody rights of the child approves the move. This means that if a custodial parent wishes to move, they are required to notify the other party with parenting rights.
When a custodial parent sends notice, it must be done by certified mail. This must be sent no later than the 60th day before the date of the proposed relocation or the 10th day after you found out about it. It the non-custodial parent opposes the relocation, they are required to file an objection with the court within 30 days of receiving the proposal notice. This must also be sent to the custodial parent by mail. When this is done, the judge will hold a hearing to determine if the relocation is necessary and either approve or deny it.
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