Business & Corporate Law


Mother’s proposed relocation with two of the parties’ minor children from Pennsylvania to Delaware was not in the best interests of the children, but the court denied father’s motion to modify custody.

The parties were the parents of four children. Mother had custody of the two youngest children. Another minor child lived with the father, along with the parties’ adult child. Mother sought permission to relocate to Delaware with the two youngest children. Mother believed she would have better employment prospects in Delaware, and she had actually been offered a job there. Father objected to mother’s motion to relocate to modify custody.

According to mother, two children in her custody would benefit from the relocation because they could live in a better neighborhood, and she could provide for them more easily with the income from her new job. Father argued that the proposed move to Delaware would negatively affect his relationship with the children. Father stated he experienced difficulty in arranging to see the children because mother did not respond to text messages. In his motion to modify custody to give him physical custody of the two younger children, father asserted that they would benefit from living with their two older siblings, both of whom were doing well.

The court held in-camera hearings with all three of the parties’ minor children. The children all expressed a preference to live in a stable environment where they had the support of family members, friends and teachers. Although mother’s increased professional and financial prospects would benefit the children, the court agreed with father that relocating the younger children to Delaware would have a negative impact on their relationship with father and their siblings. The court concluded it was in the best interests of the children to continue in their current schools and activities, and to maintain the relationships they had with other family members and friends in Pennsylvania. Both children had a strong involvement in their community and had done very well in school. Relocation would substantially disrupt the educational and emotionally development of the children. Accordingly, the court denied mother’s request to relocate with the children.

On father’s motion for a modification of custody, the court found that the mother was more involved in the day to day parental duties on behalf of the children, and she had always been the primary parent. Father adequately performed his parental duties, but mother’s work schedule was more predictable, which allowed her to attend to the daily needs of the children. The court found a modification of custody was not warranted.

Reference: Humphrey v. Humphrey, PICS Case No. 18-0158 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 6, 2017) Hiiggins, J., Digest of Recent Opinions, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 41 PLW 183, February 20, 2018

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