Although a divorce can be a massive financial transaction dictated by the outcome of property division, child support, and spousal support disputes, it can also be an exceptionally emotional process. One reason is because many divorcing couples have to decide the custody arrangement pertaining to their children.
This can be challenging. After all, most parents in this situation are going from living with their children on a daily basis to the very real possibility of only seeing their children periodically. In other instances, there may be concern that one parent poses a threat to the child’s physical or emotional well-being. Even parental relocation can threaten to minimize a noncustodial parent’s time with his or her child, which can have a significant and direct impact on that noncustodial parent’s relationship with the child.
Considering that there is so much at stake in these instances, it is important to be familiar with the law so that a parent can utilize it to his or her advantage. In the case of parental relocation, for example, a court will consider a number of factors before determining whether it is warranted and just:
- The reason for the move
- The child’s relationship with each parent and siblings
- The child’s age and how the move may affect his or her overall well-being
- The effect the move will have on the noncustodial parent’s ability to maintain his or her relationship with the child
- How the move will improve the custodial and child’s quality of life
- The child’s wishes with regard to moving
- Any pattern of abuse by the child’s parents
Pennsylvania law also allows the court to consider any other factors that it deems relevant, which means that just about anything can be made pertinent to an argument pertaining to parental relocation. What that means for those who are either going through divorce, considering divorce, or addressing custody matters post-divorce is that they need to be prepared with strong arguments that support their position, whether that be for or against relocation, sole or joint custody, or limits on visitation.
In these types of cases, knowledge is power. Engaging in competent discovery and perhaps even obtaining evaluations of the parents and the child may be informative as to how best to approach these matters.