Pittsburgh Custody Relocation, Modification & Enforcement Lawyers

Custody Relocation Cases in Pennsylvania

In this fast-paced world, parents often seek to move out of the county, state, or country where they have previously resided with a minor child. Pennsylvania parents who wish to move with their minor child or children are required to send a formal written notice of their proposed moved to the non-relocating parent with at least thirty days notice if the move will impact the non-relocating parent’s custody rights. If the non-relocating parent objects to the move, court intervention is required prior to moving the children.

In Pennsylvania, a court hearing on whether the parent is permitted to move the minor children is called a “relocation” hearing or a “Gruber hearing”, after the seminal case dealing with this issue. Whether or not a parent is permitted to relocate with the minor child or minor children depends on a number of factors including an analysis of any prior custody orders, the extent of the relationship between the children and each parent prior to the request to relocate, the reasons behind the move, the reasons why the non-relocating parent wishes to prevent the move, whether the move would improve the quality of life for the children, and whether a realistic schedule for the other parent could be formulated if the relocation is granted. If an emergency exists requiring an immediate decision on a temporary basis regarding the relocation, a Plowman hearing may be scheduled for the entry of a temporary order pending the final Gruber hearing.

In practice, oftentimes the hardest hurdle to clear in a PA relocation hearing is proving that a realistic substitute schedule can be fashioned that will provide the same or nearly the same custody time to the non-relocating parent.  This relocation factor becomes harder to meet when the non-relocating parent has substantial physical custody time with the children and especially difficult when the parties exercise a shared custody or joint custody arrangement.

Modification and Enforcement of Pennsylvania Custody Orders

Once a Pennsylvania custody order has been entered, the family courts expect that both parents will comply with the terms of the Pennsylvania custody order. If a parent does not comply with the Pennsylvania order, a contempt action can be initiated against them. If a parent is found to be in contempt for failing to comply with the custody order, the other parent can be awarded make-up time for the missed visits as well as other sanctions which could include payment of the other parent’s attorney fees.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (also known as the “UCCJEA”) not only sets forth the law regarding which court has jurisdiction to hear custody cases, but also sets forth methods to enforce custody orders in other counties, states and countries. Because of the potential for having sanctions imposed for violating a PA custody order, it is best to request a modification of the Pennsylvania custody order if it is believed that a change in the order is in the children’s best interests. A request to modify a Pennsylvania custody order must be made to the family court that entered the most recent custody order even if the children no longer reside in that county. If the children have moved, the UCCJEA provides that the family court that entered the most recent custody order must decide whether it will transfer jurisdiction to the county court where the children are currently residing.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Child Custody Attorneys Today

Our PA child custody lawyers have represented over 500 parents who fought for custody orders that were in the best interests of their children.  Our Allegheny County custody law firm has successfully represented parents who wished to relocate with their children as well as parents who wished to stop the other parent from moving with their children.  We have also represented hundreds of parents in both custody modification and contempt cases.

Contact our Pittsburgh child custody lawyers to speak with one of our experienced Allegheny County custody lawyers and learn how we can help your family. You may also telephone our PA custody law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-281-9906, Southpointe (Canonsburg, Washington County) at 724-436-5500, Cranberry Township (Butler County, PA) at 724-776-9906, Clearfield County at 814-290-0587 or toll-free at 1-844-VARI-LAW.

Appointments may also be available in other meeting locations throughout Western Pennsylvania upon advance arrangements with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.

Our Western PA family law office routinely accepts custody cases in Allegheny County,Beaver CountyButler CountyLawrence CountyMercer CountyWashington County, andWestmoreland County. Our Pittsburgh child custody attorneys accept custody cases in other Western PA counties such as Armstrong County, Erie County, Fayette County, Greene County, Somerset County and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.

Click the following link to learn more about Pennsylvania child custody laws.

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If you would like more information on family law topics, click on our Family Laws section or read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).