Chester County International Child Relocation Lawyer
Legal Representation in Chesco Child Custody Disputes
Following a divorce, it is understandable for parents to disagree about how and where a child should be raised. Parents may receive new career opportunities, need a change in lifestyle, or wish to give their child a better opportunity in another country. Whatever the reason for an international move or trip, family law courts hold great power over how child relocations are handled. If one parent disagrees with an international relocation, then it can lead to a contentious and difficult child custody dispute.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., we have experience handling complex and challenging child custody cases in Chester County. Our lead attorney has spent more than 25 years guiding parents through combative family law cases and expertly representing their best interests before judges. If you need legal representation in an international move-away case, reach out to our Chester County international child relocation lawyer by calling us at (610) 645-0100. We can sit down with you in a free consultation to discuss your rights as a parent.
Can a Parent Travel or Move Out of the Country With a Child?
The ability to travel or move out of the country with a child after a divorce comes down to the nature of your custody agreement. Most custody agreements involve some form of joint custody or visitation that allows both parents to spend time with a child. If a parent wishes to travel on an international vacation with a child, they will only be allowed to do so during their allotted parenting time or with the permission of the other custodial parent. Traveling out of the country without that permission can lead to charges of parental kidnapping and swift action from a Pennsylvania family law court.
It may also lead to an international response by authorities under the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement between countries that aims to combat child abductions. Under this convention, authorities can coordinate with international state departments to return a child after they have been illegally taken to another country.
If you want to move out of the country with your child or block an international relocation, you are likely to face a contentious custody dispute with your child’s other parent. If you cannot come to terms on your own, you may need to present your case before a Chester County judge.
Judges are required to advocate for the best interests of the child in relocation cases and will evaluate how a move will impact their development, health, safety, and well-being. A judge will also consider how a move will impact parenting time and if it is possible for parents to feasibly share joint custody and develop a parenting plan between two countries.
Fighting Against a Relocation
Judges tend to favor a child living near both parents in order to foster healthy familial relationships. Despite this, you may still face an uphill battle to prevent a move-away order and avoid having to travel internationally to see your child.
Ideally, you and the other custodial parent may be able to discuss the case out of court or come to a new agreement through mediation that accounts for both of your parenting rights. If the other parent still moves forward to get court approval for an international relocation, you have a right to be notified of their petition and can have a family law attorney represent you in a court hearing. You will need to show how the move will impact your relationship with your child and their development.
Factors that a judge may consider is if a child has strong ties to nearby family, is involved in extracurricular activities, needs treatment for a health condition in the United States, or if it would be difficult for you to see your child due to finances, travel restrictions, or other matters.
Receiving Court Approval for a Relocation
An international relocation petition must be handled delicately. If you cannot come to terms with your child’s other custodial parent, then you will need to petition a Chester County judge for court approval. Upon filing the documents with the court, you must also provide the other parent with a written notice of the petition at least 60 days before the scheduled move and present your case in a relocation hearing.
During a relocation hearing, the judge will want to understand how the move could impact your child’s life and if the move has any benefits to your child’s development. For example, if you have extended family, a strong cultural or religious connection with another country, or your child can receive better healthcare, a judge may be willing to approve your request. You may also need to be willing to compromise and make efforts to accommodate the other parent’s rights to custody and visitation.
Why You Should Contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C.
In either situation, having a Chester County family law attorney is key to receiving a favorable outcome in a child relocation case. International cases can become contentious as both sides will want to maintain their rights to custody and protect their relationships with their child. Judges will also want an assurance that a child’s best interests are being taken into account before a move and that it will not impact their development.
Our team at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. have spent more than two decades standing up for the rights of parents throughout Chester County. We know how combative and difficult relocation cases can be. If you bring your case to us, we will use all of our knowledge, experience, and skills to advocate for your family’s best interests. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call us at (610) 645-0100.