How Changing Addresses Affect Custody Agreements

undefinedBy F. Clay Merris, Esq

A parent that seeks a change in the custody order governing how often they see their children must file a Petition to Modify the Custody Order.  If the specific change they seek involves a change of address that will significantly impair the other parent’s ability to exercise custodial rights, there is further paperwork that must be filed.  In order to make such a move, the parent must file a Petition for Relocation and include information about the location to which they intend to move, including address, contact information at the new location, and information regarding the school district.  The nonrelocating parent can either agree to allow the relocation to occur, or file the Counter Petition that has been served on them indicating their desire to contest the relocation.  If they contest the relocation, the Court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to allow the relocation to occur.

Judges must, by statute, consider the following factors in making their ruling on whether to allow a relocation to occur:

1)  The nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child's relationship with the party proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating party, siblings and other significant persons in the child's life.

(2)  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.

(3)  The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating party and the child through suitable custody arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.

(4)  The child's preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

(5)  Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of either party to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the other party.

(6)  Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking the relocation, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.

(7)  Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.

(8)  The reasons and motivation of each party for seeking or opposing the relocation.

(9)  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 an abused party.

(10)  Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.

If you are a parent operating under a custody order who intends to move, it is imperative that you contact an experienced family law attorney to advise you about any legal obligation to seek the other parent’s and/or Court’s consent for the move. To speak with one of Scaringi Law’s family law attorneys call 717 657 7770.

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