Figuring Out Custody Exchanges When One Spouse Moves

child custody across state linesQuestion:

My ex-wife and I divorced and she recently moved to a different state. She says it is my legal responsibility to either meet her halfway for custody exchanges or we both must drive the entire way when it is our turn based on her state’s “pick-up law.”

Am I really required to bear the time and financial burden when she was the one who chose to move?


I do not practice law in your state and therefore cannot provide you with specific information or procedures.  However, I can offer you some insight to your situation to be discussed with a family law processional whom practices in your jurisdiction.

I am not familiar with the “pick-up law” referenced in your question and would advise you to discuss the same with an attorney in your state.

That being said, many states require a party to obtain permission to relocate if it will affect the custody schedule. Each state has its own statute setting forth the factors that the court considers when determining if a relocation is in the best interest of the child. The court will consider many factors including the residence, school district and education services available.

The court may also set forth specific procedures that a party must follow before they are permitted to relocate. If your ex-wife followed the procedures and was granted the right to relocate, it may be too late to contest the relocation.

Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney Jill Rosenthal
Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney Jill Rosenthal

However, if she unilaterally decided to move, you may be able to contest and raise your objection and ask that the children be returned to the former jurisdiction or that he be responsible for the majority of the transportation.

You should speak with an attorney that is familiar with your state’s procedure to object to a relocation. If you wish to pursue this avenue, I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later. The more time that passes, the harder it will be to insist that the children be returned to their former jurisdiction.

Another option that you may wish to consider would be filing a modification request if you believe that a change in the current custody schedule or transportation is warranted. The change may include requesting a change in transportation as a result of the move.

You would have the opportunity to make arguments as to why you should not be required to share in transportation. These arguments could include the cost of transportation. The court may adjust child support to account for transportation costs but the consideration of these costs would be state specific and based on the court’s discretion.

I cannot provide you with legal advice so please consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Jill Rosenthal, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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