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December 15, 2023

What factors will the judge consider when deciding if I can move with my child?

To decide if you can move with your child, the judge will look at the following factors and give “heavy consideration” to the ones about your child’s safety:

  1. the nature, quality, amount of involvement, and length of your child’s relationships with you, the non-relocating parent, any siblings, and other significant people in your child’s life;
  2. your child’s age, developmental stage, and needs, including any special needs, and the likely impact the move will have on his/her physical, educational, and emotional development;
  3. whether it’s possible to keep the relationship between your child and the non-relocating parent through appropriate custody arrangements, considering the locations and financial circumstances of both parents;
  4. your child’s preference in light of his/her age and maturity;
  5. whether either parent has a pattern of helping or harming the child’s relationship with the other parent;
  6. whether the move will improve your and your child’s quality of life financially, emotionally, educationally, etc.;
  7. your reasons and motivation for seeking the move;
  8. the other parent’s reasons and motivation for opposing it;
  9. any present and past abuse committed by a parent or someone in the parent’s household and if there is a continued risk of harm to your child or you; and
  10. any other factor that affects your child’s best interest.1

At the hearing, you have to prove to the judge that relocation is in your child’s best interest and that you have a good motive for moving. The non-relocating parent has to prove that s/he has a good motive for objecting.2

1 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(h)
2 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337(i)