Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Custody

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Updated: 
December 15, 2023

If the other parent objects to the move, what happens?

If the other parent or anyone with custody rights objects, s/he must file an objection in court within 30 days of receiving your relocation notice. S/he has to serve you with this objection by sending you a copy of his/her papers, called a “counter-affidavit,” by certified mail, return receipt requested. Then, the judge will have a hearing to decide if you can relocate..1 

The judge will usually have the hearing after the other parent files his/her objection and before you move.2 However, if the judge believes it’s necessary, s/he could hold the hearing even before receiving the other parent’s objection.3 Also, if the judge believes it’s an emergency, the judge could give you temporary approval to move first and later hold the hearing to make a final decision.4 If the judge does this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that s/he will rule in your favor after the hearing, and there is a risk you could have to move back. 

At the hearing, you will have to convince the judge that moving is in your child’s best interest based on the factors listed in What factors will the judge consider when deciding if I can move with my child?5 If you don’t have a lawyer, we have information to help you prepare for your hearing in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

After the hearing, if the judge approves your relocation, s/he will change (modify) your existing custody order or make a new custody order.4

1 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(d)(2)
2 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(g)(1)
3 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(g)(2)
4 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(g)(3)
5 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(i)(1)
4 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(g)(4)

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