While the circumstances that contributed to the end of your marriage in Pennsylvania may have you welcoming your divorce, there will inevitably be challenges that you will face as you transition to your post-divorce life. One of the greatest may be maintaining a strong family dynamic while sharing custody of your kids.
Not only will your children have to acclimate to the new situation, but you and your ex-spouse will have to work together in your parenting efforts. This is true even when your ex-spouse states an intention to move away.
Pennsylvania’s parental relocation requirements
Pennsylvania state law bars your ex-spouse from simply moving away with your kids. Rather, he or she has to provide you with notice of the proposed relocation at least 60 days prior to it actually happening. Once you receive such notice, the clock starts ticking for you to act. You have 30 days to file a petition with the court objecting to the move. If you do not, the court assumes that you consent to it and will approve whatever modified custody arrangement your ex-spouse submits.
If you do formally oppose the move within the mandatory deadline, the court will then order a hearing to discuss the matter. During this hearing, the burden of proof first falls to your ex-spouse to show that the move would indeed be in your kids’ best interest.
If the court agrees with these assertions, then you must show why your objections to the move are legitimate, and not simply due to continued discord with your ex-spouse. Ultimately, in such a scenario, the court will typically consider what you both present and modify your agreement in a way that it believes will be best for your kids.
Working with your ex-spouse on a new agreement
There may be a way for you to avoid turning your ex-spouse’s proposed relocation into a contentious subject. Once your ex begins considering a move, you can approach him or her about working together to come up with your own modified agreement that is agreeable to you both. If you can do this together, it is likely the court will respect your wishes.