Custody Relocation - Factors to Consider

Custody Relocation Factors:   A court is to consider the 10 relocation factors as well as the 16 custody factors when there exists no current order for custody and one parent desires to relocate. Recently, in S.S. vs. M.S., 2013 Pa Super 227, 2013, Pa. Super. Lexis 1706, 2013 WL 4009151 9pa. Super. Ct. August 7, 2013), the Superior Court reviewed a case where mother and father shared physical custody by agreement.  Father, had the children on the weekends and had them on wednesdays.  There was no order establishing the custodial schedule.  Mother decided she wanted to relocate with the children from Erie, Pennsylvania to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The driving distance is 7 hours.

The trial court analyzed the case under both child custody relocation factors, 23 Pa.C.S. 5337, as well as the 16 factors, 23 Pa.C.S. 5338.  In fact, the court issued 2 separate orders and opinions on the individual tests.  The court noted in its decision, that the Gruber v. Gruber analysis is still applicable, albeit with Section 5337(h)(6)-(8).

In denying the request for relocation, the court viewed mother's request as a means of "getting away from the father."  She had no job opportunities and her reasoning were nebulous.  The court reiterated the long standing test of examining what was in the children's best interests.  

"Our concern in any custody or relocation matter is in the best interest of the child, which considers all factors, on a case-by-case basis, that legitimately affects a child's physical, intellectual, moral, and spititual well-being."  

If you are involved in a custody action and one party desitres to relocate with the subject children, there are 10 factors that the court must weigh in the decision.  Moreover, the court's decision on these cases must include the factors in an opinion.  If there is no existing custody order, then the court must also engage in an analysis of the 16 factors for determining primary custody.  Again, this must be in the courts opinion.  Do not hesitate and contact Marinaro Law Firm for knowledgeable, competent, and aggressive representation when the issues of custody arise.

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