Can I move out of the marital home with my kid during the divorce if my wife doesn’t approve?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

My wife and I are getting divorced, but we’re both still living in the marital home. It’s a toxic atmosphere for my child.

I have an alternate living arrangement made that will make for a much better life for my child and I.

Is it legal to move out with my kid during the divorce if my wife doesn’t approve?


First, let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in your state. The information in the article is general in nature. You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss your options.

Before leaving the marital home or moving your child, you should consult a divorce attorney in your state. As the old saying goes, “possession is nine-tenths the law.” Normally, while the parents are married, both parties have equal rights to move the child as they see fit.

However, moving your child without your spouse’s permission could have adverse affects on later proceedings, or could prompt your wife to file a complaint with the police for parental kidnapping.

First, you should attempt to get your wife’s permission to make the move. If that doesn’t work, it may be beneficial to file a custody proceeding before moving from the marital home.

In Pennsylvania where you live, custody actions may be initiated as entirely separate proceedings from divorce or support. This is vastly different from many other states.

Parties will typically be required to participate in educational and/or mediation sessions prior to initiating an action for custody. Custody is an extremely fact-sensitive area and the courts will determine an appropriate custodial arrangement based on what is in the best interest of the child involved.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in Pennsylvania to further discuss the specifics of your situation. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys located in Pennsylvania.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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