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Is relocation in the best interests of the child?

You are in the heat of your Pennsylvania divorce, and the only thing you can think about is getting out of Dodge. Although it is understandable that you would want to get a fresh start in another location -- preferably away from your ex -- this is not always the best course of action. That is especially true for couples who have children. Considering the best interests of the child is not always easy, but it should be prioritized. Here are some things to consider before you decide to take the plunge and move away with your kids.

First, before you even make the decision, you need to find out whether it is even possible to move with your children. So-called "move-away motions" can be very costly and difficult to resolve through the courts. This is usually not a quick decision to make; it could take years for you to actually be able to leave the area.

If you are intent on moving, you need to come up with a complete plan. First, consider where the children will attend school. Are the institutions in the new area as good or better than those available to your children now? What about childcare? Do you have friends or family members who may be able to help you, as a custodial parent? Further, parents need to consider whether they have adequate employment and a strong support infrastructure.

Communicating with the other parent is also critical during this time. In some cases, your ex may be surprisingly willing to help you with the relocation process. Involving your kids' other parent early in the process may establish goodwill that could serve you well throughout the courtroom proceedings. Make sure that the decision to move is not made on impulse -- rather on need -- and you are far more likely to succeed in your physical custody negotiations.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Considerations Before Relocating Your Children" Caroline Choi, Jun. 04, 2014

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Scranton, PA 18503

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