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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > My Child’s Other Parent Is Moving, Now What?

My Child’s Other Parent Is Moving, Now What?


If you are co-parenting or have primary custody but your ex-spouse connects with your children over scheduled visits, you are likely wondering what will happen if your ex-spouse has informed you that they are moving away. Parental relocation can significantly impact custody arrangements, so the process relies on careful consideration.

To learn more about how your custody arrangement could be affected by a parent’s move, discuss the details of your situation with a Bucks County family attorney. Once a lawyer is familiar with the type of move, such as if it is local or out of state, they can provide you with guidance on what to expect and how to navigate parent relocation challenges.

How a Parental Move Impacts Custody Arrangements

When a parent decides to move, it can have implications for existing Pennsylvania or New Jersey custody arrangement in the following ways:

  • Physical custody. Who has physical custody may need to be modified if one parent moves and it results in a significant physical distance between the parents. This could involve revising visitation schedules or exploring alternative arrangements. For example, some choose to shift visitation to include extended periods of visitation during school breaks or holidays rather than shorter visits month to month.
  • Legal custody. If the relocating parent has joint legal custody, communication and decision-making can become more challenging. Sometimes the custody arrangement needs to be completely modified due to the physical distance, in other situations clear guidelines can make effective co-parenting possible when there is a plan in place to mitigate the challenges of the move.

While these are basic guidelines around legal and physical custody, there can be additional legal considerations when one of the parents makes the decision to move out of state.

For instance, Pennsylvania law requires a relocating parent to obtain consent from the other parent or seek court approval. Disagreements between the parents about a move could lead to the relocating parent needing to file a court petition requesting permission to move.

Best Interests of the Child and Modifying Established Orders

Should an issue end up in court, the court will evaluate whether the proposed move is in the best interests of the child. While an array of factors will be considered, it is likely the court will assess a child’s relationship with both parents and how the move will impact their education, social life, and overall well-being.

Once a parental request for relocation is approved, the established custody orders may need to be modified so that the terms reflect the new circumstances, such as adjusting the physical and legal custody arrangements to accommodate the geographical distance between the parental homes. To have your unique situation reviewed, talk to a Bucks County family attorney.

Has your ex-spouse told you that they plan to move? A parental relocation can create significant challenges for both parents and the child. Understanding the impact on custody arrangements and the legal requirements for relocation is crucial, and the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand can guide you through the process. Call 215-968-6602 to schedule your consultation today.

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