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Custody Relocation Proceedings- Protecting The Location of An Abused Spouse or Child

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A relocating party may not be required to provide a notification to the non-relocating party that contains a new address, telephone number, etc.


By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Custody Relocation Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

I have come across instances where an abused spouse or parent wants to move to a new location, but does not want to disclose their new address or other contact information for obvious reasons to the other party.  The PA Custody Statute has provided for these types of instances. A relocating party may not be required to provide a notification with all of these details to the non-relocating party.  The relevant PA Statute provides as follows:

Relocation Proceedings- 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5337(c)

The PA Custody Statute provides that a relocating party must provide notice of their intended move at least 60 days prior to the non-relocating party.  That notice must include under subsection (c), the following:

  1. The address of the intended new residence.
  2. The mailing address, if not the same as the address of the intended new residence.
  3. Names and ages of the individuals in the new residence, including individuals who intend to live in the new residence.
  4. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if available.
  5. The name of the new school district and school.
  6. The date of the proposed relocation.
  7. The reasons for the proposed relocation.
  8. A proposal for a revised custody schedule.
  9. Any other information which the party proposing the relocation deems appropriate.

This would seem counterproductive for a spouse or parent that wants to relocate in order to get away from an abusive situation.  Why would they tell the abusive spouse where they are headed?  However, the statute addresses this very concern by providing for the non-disclosure of this information in an abuse situation.

23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5336(b)- Access to records and information

This statute provides as follows:

(b) Nondisclosure of confidential information.--The court shall not order the disclosure of any of the following information to any parent or party granted custody: (1) The address of a victim of abuse. (2) Confidential information from an abuse counselor or shelter. (3) Information protected under Chapter 67 (relating to domestic and sexual violence victim address confidentiality). (4) Information independently protected from disclosure by the child's right to confidentiality under the act of July 9, 1976 (P.L. 817, No. 143), known as the Mental Health Procedures Act, or any other statute.

Under Chapter 67, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Act provides that the Office of Victim Advocate must establish a program to be known as the Address Confidentiality Program. Upon application and certification, persons eligible under the applicable provision of the Act will receive a confidential substitute address provided by the Office of Victim Advocate.

If you are involved in a custody relocation case where you have issues with abuse, you should seek counsel to discuss how the notification proceedings will work.  You may not have to notify the non-relocating party of your relocation.  You may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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