Question: My ex-wife and I got divorced a year ago. We have a custody order in place, and we have joint custody of our children. We have been able to co-parent our kids without much disagreement, until now. My ex and I both live in Doylestown. She got our house and I moved out into a small townhouse. She said she is giving me “notice” that she got a new job in Delaware and will be moving there within the next 6 months. She also wants the kids to relocate with her, live with her during the week and attend school in Delaware. Per our current custody schedule, she has them 3 days of the week, and I have them for the other 2. Then on the weekends, we have the kids every other weekend. Obviously, I object to this because I wouldn’t have my kids at all during the week. She said that she will file a motion with the court to modify our custody order. Can she do this?
Answer: Your ex can certainly move to wherever she wishes. Whether she can take your kids with her is another story.
The law requires your ex to obtain your approval before moving. If you do not approve, she must obtain a court order to allow her to relocate.
There are certain procedures your ex must comply with when trying to obtain a court order. First, she must give you proper notice of her request to relocate. The notice must be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt requested, and notice should be given at least 60 days prior to the date of the relocation. Just because she gave you “notice” verbally does not mean she gave you proper notice. She must comply with the requirements.
Further, in the notice, she must also provide you with a form called the “Counter-Affidavit Regarding Relocation.” You must fill out this form to either agree or object to the relocation. After you receive the notice, you have 30 days to object or you waive your right to object.
Per Pennsylvania family law, relocation is defined as the following, “any change in the child’s residence that could significantly impair the ability of the non-relocating party to exercise his or her custodial rights over the same child.”
In your case, your ex relocating with the children certainly impairs your custodial rights over your kids, i.e., you are going to have less time with them.
The court will hold a full hearing on your ex’s proposed relocation.
It is best that you consult with a Doylestown custody lawyer who will can help you through the process.