Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Custody

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Updated: 
May 25, 2017

How do I notify the other parent that I want to relocate?

Pennsylvania law defines relocation as "a change in a residence of the child which significantly impairs the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights."*  Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania's relocation laws do not specify whether or not they only apply to people who want to relocate out of state or people who want to move beyond a certain mile radius.  We recommend consulting with a custody attorney in Pennsylvania to find out if your planned move would fit the definition of a "relocation" according to Pennsylvania law.

If you want to move and you have a custody order in place, Pennsylvania says that a relocation (as defined above) cannot happen unless everyone who has custody rights to the child consents to the move or the judge approves the relocation.**  There are very specific requirements of how you have to notify those who have custody rights. 

The notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and it has to be given no later than:

  • the 60th day before the date of the proposed relocation; or
  • the 10th day after you know about the relocation but only if:
    • you did not know and could not reasonably have known of the relocation in enough time to give the 60-day required notice; and
    • it is not reasonably possible to delay the date of relocation to meet the 60-day notice requirement.***

The following information, if available, must be included with the notice of the proposed relocation (Note: If you are victim of abuse, and your address was kept confidential by the court, check with an attorney to see what things from the list below you can leave out):

  1. The address of the intended new residence and the mailing address (if different).
  2. The names and ages of the people who currently live, or intend to live, in the new residence.
  3. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if available.
  4. The name of the new school district and school.
  5. The date of the proposed relocation.
  6. The reasons for the proposed relocation.
  7. A proposal for a revised custody schedule.
  8. Any other information which you think is appropriate to include.
  9. A "counter-affidavit" which can be used by those who receive the notice to object to the proposed relocation and the modification of a custody order (to see what the counter-affidavit must look like, go to section 5337 of the law on our PA Statutes page, and look at section (d)(1))
  10. A warning to the non-relocating party that if s/he does not file an objection with the court to the proposed relocation within 30 days after receipt of the notice, that s/he can no longer object to the relocation.****

These cases can be complicated, and we strongly suggest that you get an attorney to help you, especially if the other parent does not want you to move.  See our PA Finding a Lawyer page to find legal help.

* 23 Pa.C.S.A. §5322(a)
** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(b)
*** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(c)(1),(2)
**** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(c)(3)