23 PA C.S. 5337 is Pennsylvania's custody relocation statute which requires any party seeking to move with minor children to get court approval or the other parent's permission prior to the relocation. A relocation is defined as any move that would "significantly impair the ability of the nonrelocating party to exercise custodial rights." A move that is only a few miles away would not count as a relocation. Procedurally, the party intending to relocate must give at least 60 days' notice, or notice as soon as possible, of the intended move. The party would include a counter-affidavit with the notice which allows the non-moving party to designate their position. If the move is contested a hearing on whether or not the relocation should be granted should be held prior to the move. In addition to addressing the 16 factors as to what's in the child's best interests required in any custody case, the moving party must also address 10 relocation factors. The moving party has the burden of proof to show relocation will serve the best interests of the child(ren) and that there is no improper motive in seeking to move.
Section 5337 of the Domestic Relations statutes sets out the procedures and standards for relocation requests. All parties to a custody action are required to follow the procedures outlined in Section 5337 if they are moving to a distance which would make any existing custody arrangements difficult or impossible to follow. E.D. v. M.P., 2011 PA Super. 238, was one of the first cases to apply the new relocation law. In E.D. v. M.P., Mother appealed after the lower court granted Father's relocation on the grounds that Father didn't comply with the provisions of Sec. 5337.
Custody refers to both physical custody, which is the schedule parties follow, as well as legal custody, which is who makes important decisions for the child(ren). Often times parties will share legal custody meaning they need to communicate, and ideally agree, on major decisions impacting healthcare, religion and education. Which school district a child goes to is an example of an education decision that should be discussed in the context of shared legal custody. If the parties ultimately cannot agree on a school district, the court could intervene to make the final determination.