Today’s fluctuating job market ensures that people will move multiple times in their lives, but what happens when a couple is divorced with children and one parent wants or needs to move away from Maryland? These cases are complex and every case will have its own set of unique circumstances.
In Maryland, custodial spouses that want to relocate are required to give 90 days notice to the other parent and to the court of the intention to leave the jurisdiction. The non-custodial parent may contest the move by filing a petition with the court within 20 days of receiving the notice to relocate.
Almost all relocations affect parenting time, which is also known as visitation rights. The court will consider the reasons for the move and what is in the best interests of the child when deciding whether to allow an out of state move.
The court must first look at the most important factors:
- The age, sex, and health of the child and the child’s preference
- The fitness of each parent as well as their character and reputation
- Is the move by choice or is it unavoidable? (i.e. military relocation)
- How does the move benefit the child? (i.e. A better school system, a safer neighborhood, a network of extended family, and better financial circumstances are all seen as positive reasons for a move)
If the child has special needs that cannot be accommodated in the new school system, or the new location makes visits financially prohibitive, the court may be reluctant to move the child. Relocating for romantic reasons or other personal interests of the parent that have no direct benefit for the child are not received favorably by the court. It is also highly unadvisable that a parent delay notice to the court of a potential move or attempt to move in secret. This will be held as an attempt to withhold parenting time and can result in loss of custody.
A relocating parent will need to show the court that the move will not undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent and demonstrate willingness to accommodate a new parenting plan that involves extended time for the child with the other parent.
Every relocation case is unique, but virtually all cases are difficult with many different factors that will need to be evaluated by the court. If you are divorced and a custodial parent who is considering moving out of state, seek counsel from a qualified divorce lawyer in Towson who can help you best prepare your case and protect the interests of your child.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Experienced Counsel to Parents on Relocation and Child Custody
The Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have a broad range of experience in all areas of family law and can help you solve your child custody and visitation problems. We will partner with you to find a solution that is best for you and your child. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation. From our offices in Towson and Hunt Valley we proudly serve clients throughout Maryland including in Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County.