Bucks County, PA Divorce - Implications of Moving, Relocation and Divorce

By a Doylestown Divorce Lawyer

Moving is often a burdensome task, and a divorce can further complicate the process.  Whether you are considering a divorce, are actively litigating one, or have a final divorce decree, there may be significant implications that you should consider prior to your move. 

Consider Where to File Your Divorce

For instance, if you are moving from Pennsylvania to another state and are  considering filing for divorce, the first determination to make is where the divorce should be filed.  Each state or jurisdiction has minimum requirements that must be met before a divorce action can be commenced.  Generally, however, there is a requirement that you or your spouse meet certain residency conditions.

While you may legally be able to file for divorce in a different state depending on the timing of your move, your spouse may still be able to file in the state where you resided while married. You might therefore find yourself litigating in two different jurisdictions to first establish which state should maintain jurisdiction over the divorce before a divorce proceeding can even continue. For instance, you move from Pennsyvlania to New York and file file for divorce in New York.  Your spouse files for divorce in Pennsylvania. You now will have to litigate whether New York or Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over the divorce.

Consider Custody Issues

It is common to have a custody dispute during your divorce, which may limit your ability to move without consent of your spouse or court approval.  Moving a distance which would significantly impair the other party’s ability to exercise custody is generally referred to as a relocation.  For instance, you and your spouse are getting a divorce in Pennsylvania and you both want and agree to joint custody.  However, you want to move to Florida.  This would significantly impair your spouse's ability to have joint custody.  There are many factors the court must first consider before such a move may be authorized.  Making the move without the appropriate approval may significantly impair your custodial rights in the future.  Even after the divorce and custody disputes are concluded, you may still need to consult with an attorney prior to moving.  The procedures to relocate are not necessarily changed simply because the divorce is concluded.  Given the significant implications a move could have on your divorce or custody matters, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney prior to making your arrangements.