In the last year-and-a-half since the new custody statute became effective, a number of cases have been decided by the Pennsylvania Superior Court analyzing the application of the new act. It is clear, based on the published opinions, that all of the factors pertaining to the trial court making a custody decision as well as the factors pertaining to the court making a child relocation decision must be analyzed by the trial court. The recent case of B.K.M. v. J.A.M., ___ A.3d ___, 2012 PA Super 156 (Pa. Super 2012), is the third case to specifically analyze child relocation. According to the opinion, a trial court cannot ignore the facts and circumstances that exist after a party relocates with a child prior to the full evidentiary hearing when making a decision.

Generally, the facts in the opinion are as follows: J.A.M. (mother) and B.K.M. (father) married in June 2002 in Sweden where the mother was a citizen. Shortly after the parties married, the mother was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. J.A.M.’s colitis worsened and she required numerous surgeries. Prior to her first surgery, three children were born of the marriage: A.M. (in December 2003), L.M. (in March 2005) and J.M. (in March 2008). In total, the mother underwent four surgeries. The first three surgeries occurred in the United States. The parties agreed that the fourth surgery would occur in Sweden.

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