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Hi- I live in Philadelphia, PA. Ive been married for 3

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I live in Philadelphia, PA. I've been married for 3 years. My wife is originally from Bergenfield, NJ. My wife and I have a daughter, age 2 1/2 yrs old. My wife is thinking about accepting a job in NYC as a Port Authority Police Officer. She will have to be away for 6 months for training in Jersey City (commuting back and forth). I'm not happy she will be away and working eventually NYC. I'm usually very supportive with what she wants to do (currently helping her get her Master's degree) I told her this job will put a strain on are already strained relationship. She's just looking at the dollars and cents involved. My question is this: If she files for divorce, will she legally be able to take our daughter out of state with her. Our daughter was born in North NJ but has always resided in PA. Please advise. Let me know if you need additional information. Thank you.


Hello Vincent,
My name isXXXXX a licensed attorney. Glad to try and help out.
Sure sorry for the circumstances, truly. My heart goes out to you.
Yes, either parent has the right to the child in such cases, I regret to say. In other words, this remains the case unless and until a Court of competent jurisdiction enters an Order to the contrary. Without such an Order, either parent is free to have his or her child live with him, travel, do all of the usual things a parent does pursuant to what the law calls "natural rights". It amounts to a "race", so to speak, until an Order is entered putting some parameters around the situation. For that reason and many others, the very best next step you could take would be to confer with local family law counsel.
If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me.
I truly hope all works out for you and your family.
Take care,
Ben, J.D.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thanks for your kind words and assistance. This "race" you speak you mean which parent files for custody 1st? About a year ago, we had an argument and I left the house to cool off . Upon returning, she was gone with our daughter. She didn't say where she had gone and during our argument she mentioned she wanted a divorce. The next day I filed for custody for our daughter in Family Court. The court date was set for 5 months later. We had reconciled prior to the court date and I dropped the petition. Even though I dropped the petition- does that stay on file that I filed a petition? Does the history of filing before help me in the future if I have to file again? I thought both parents have to agree to an out of state move when children are involved? Please advise.



Hi there Vince,

Great to hear from you and thanks for writing back!
You're quite welcome. It's entirely my pleasure to be of help to you.
Yes, the rough analogy of a "race" applies in a couple of ways. First, without any Judicial proceedings, it's up to whichever parent makes the first move in terms of taking a trip or otherwise making a geographic move with the child. Secondly, as you mentioned, it also comes down to which parent makes it first to the Courthouse. However, concerning the second scenario I'm certainly not saying being first to file means everything will go in favor of that parent. Not at all. Rather, the Judge is bound to make all decisions touching upon parental access (custody, visitation, parenting) pursuant to the legal standard of what is "in the best interest of the child". That will always trump any parental preference either way and so forth.
Now, procedurally, it works like this. There's no huge advantage, and certainly no disadvantage to having file previously, to be candid. Reconciliation is very common, so Judges tend to see this sort of scenario all the time. My best educated guess is that the case may have been automatically dropped from the docket, but a quick call to the Clerk will confirm where things stand in terms of needing to re-file. And yes, there certainly is a relocation law relevant here. To read it (it's quite short), please just click the following link:
Pennsylvania General Statutes § 46b-56d
Looking at things from the perspective of best protecting your interests, and especially with your wife's job situation, I would encourage you to be proactive. Meaning, confirm the status of your previously filed case and either continue with it or re-file, if necessary. Either way, I really do think you need to have an appropriate Order in place.

Best regards,
Ben, J.D.
LawHelpNow and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Vincent,

I enjoyed working with you recently.

How are things going?

Is there anything else I can do to help?

Please just let me know.


Ben, J.D.

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