As parents, we put our children first in our lives. We strive to make our children happy, broaden their opportunities, and lay the foundations for their future happiness and success. Sometimes, our quest to secure our children’s future means taking a better job in a distant locale or moving to a new city or town with a new spouse. Whatever the reason, when a separated parent decides to relocate with his or her children, a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas may end up deciding whether or not that relocation occurs.

The law of child custody relocation is found in Chapter 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, section 5337. ( 23 Pa.C.S. § 5337). Among the principles underlying child custody relocation law is the belief that children should not be moved from place to place (except for a very good reason) and that a move should not have a detrimental impact on the children. The relocation statute establishes, in detail, everything a parent must do before a court will permit a relocation to occur.

In future posts, I will more fully explain just what the law requires from a parent who wishes to relocate with his children. Right now, though, if you have questions about how you can relocate with your children or about how to stop the other parent from moving your children to another city, county, state, or country feel free to contact me at the Law Office of Sean Potter, PC by calling 717-582-0400. I handle family law matters in central Pennsylvania and am happy to offer free consultations. My Perry County office is convenient to Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Franklin, York, Snyder, and surrounding counties.

Sean Potter
Attorney and Counselor at Law
15 East Main St.
P.O. Box 121
New Bloomfield, PA 17068

Emergency Custody and Special Relief

What do you do when, without your permission, the other parent pulls your child out of his or her school and enrolls him or her in a different school district?

What do you do when you fear for your child’s physical safety and well-being during his stays at the other parent’s residence? For instance, maybe mom’s new boyfriend is violent and abusive? Or, perhaps, dad is losing his struggle with substance abuse and, as a result, leaves a small child unattended while he sleeps it off or is out tending his habit?

What do you when the other custodial parent exhibits signs of mental illness that call into question his or her ability to adequately parent the child, to meet the child’s basic needs, and to make sound parenting decisions?

What do you when the other custodial parent simply fails to return your child to you at the end of his or her period of custody?

In Pennsylvania, the answer to these questions may come in the form of a Petition for Special Relief; sometimes referred to as an Emergency Petition. Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1915.13 provides parents with the ability to quickly obtain an order which can do any or all of the following:

  • award the petitioning parent temporary sole physical custody of the subject child; or,
  • prohibit a parent from relocating the child to a new school district or even a new county or state; or
  • direct that a parent undergo a psychological or mental health evaluation to determine that parent’s fitness and ability to effectively rear his or her child.

A Petition for Special Relief can be a useful tool for obtaining other kinds of relief, as well. It is important, though, that you make a decision about whether or not file a Petition for Special Relief with the advice and counsel of an experienced custody attorney. A wrongly filed Petition can damage your entire custody case. On the other hand, not filing a Special Relief Petition when you should file one could leave your child in a vulnerable position. Careful consideration of all available options is necessary.

One of the ground rules for filing a Petition for Special Relief is that there must already be a custody case pending or, if there is none, that the Petition for Special Relief be filed at the same time as the initial Custody Complaint.

If you would like to discuss your custody case with me, I would be happy to do so. The first consultation is free and there is no obligation. I serve parents in central Pennsylvania; including the counties of Cumberland, Perry, Dauphin, Juniata, to name a few. Feel free to call 717-582-0400 to arrange for your free consultation.

Sean Potter
Attorney and Counselor at Law