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Moving away as a single parent: Can you bring your kids?

Having kids is a great joy, of course. But if you're divorced, it can create complications if you want to move out of town. For example, imagine you get an amazing job offer in another state, but your child custody orders say that you can't move with your kids across state lines.

You could be out of luck if you want to take the new job. Then again, there might be a way for you to legally move -- even without the other parent's permission, in some cases.

Getting permission to move out of state with your child

In some situations, the other parent might agree, and give you permission to move out of state with your child. Perhaps the other parent is the noncustodial parent, and he or she is happy to have your children for several months during the summer each year, and you can make this kind of arrangement. Or, maybe your ex sees the benefit for your kids in your getting a better job and a higher income after the move.

If your ex doesn't agree, it will create some serious legal hurdles, especially if you don't have full custody of your children. A judge will likely order you to stay put with your children or give them up to the noncustodial parent. That said, under certain circumstances, you may be able to get a judge to approve of your move if you can offer a good faith reason for why the move benefits your children:

  • The new area offers a substantially improved cost of living so that you can provide a better life for your children.
  • You'll have the support of family members who can help you take care of childcare responsibilities.
  • The noncustodial parent isn't involved with the child and/or hasn't been paying child support.
  • You have secured a new and better paying job in the area.
  • You have opportunities to improve your education and therefore your quality of life in the new area.

Having trouble getting permission to move with your child?

The more you know about Pennsylvania state law as it pertains to moving your child out of state, the better you'll be able to evaluate your situation to determine if you have a chance for gaining approval from a judge. Once you understand the law, you can plan your strategy for gaining approval for your relocation accordingly.

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