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Changing states where a child custody case is heard

When Pennsylvania parents with young children decides to get divorced, in many cases the court will determine which parent receives primary custody. However, custody cases can take time. A parent who finds a need in the interim to move to another state for economic or personal reasons, such as for a new job, may request that the custody case be heard in that new state.

In order for this to happen, the parent must provide the reasons for the request to the judge. The judge must then find that the state of Pennsylvania is an "inconvenient forum," meaning that the state is the wrong jurisdiction to hear the case.

There are many factors that the judge must consider when responding to a request to have the case be heard in another state. For example, if a parent has a history of domestic violence and the other parent and child are at risk, the judge may grant the request if the other state provides appropriate protection. In some cases, the child has already moved to a new state and has been living there for some time, making the return to Pennsylvania inconvenient. The location of evidence, the financial situation of those involved in the case and the ability for Pennsylvania courts to reach a decision quickly are also factors that must be considered.

It can be complicated for a mother or father to have this type of parental rights case moved to a new state. A family law attorney can help a client in demonstrating why the case should be moved and provide evidence to back the request. The attorney may also assist with ensuring that, regardless of where the case is heard, the client's relationship with the child is still protected.

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