What factors will a judge consider when deciding if I can relocate with my child?
In deciding whether to allow your proposed relocation, the judge should consider the following factors and give heavy consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child:
- The nature, quality, and amount of involvement, and the length of the child’s relationship with you and with the non-relocating party, siblings and other significant people in the child’s life.
- The age, developmental stage, needs of the child and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
- The possibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating party and the child through appropriate custody arrangements, considering the location and financial circumstances of the parties.
- The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
- Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of either party to help or harm the relationship of the child and the other party.
- Whether the relocation will improve the general quality of life financially, emotionally, educationally, etc., for you and for your child.
- The reasons and motivation of you for seeking the relocation and of the other party for opposing the relocation.
- The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household and whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or you (if you were abused).
- Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.1
It is your responsibility to prove to the judge that the relocation will serve the best interest of the child based on the factors above and that your motives in moving are good ones. The non-relocating party has to prove that s/he has good motives in objecting to the relocation.2
1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(h)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(i)