When married couples with children decide to divorce, their children’s wellbeing should be their top priority. Living arrangements can be tricky, with the children going back and forth to spend time with each parent. This can turn into a very different and more challenging situation when the children are underage, and the custodial parent wants to relocate to another area.
As long as this parent obtains a court order or permission from the other parent, they have a constitutional right to move. However, if the noncustodial parent objects and the two cannot agree, it can set the stage for a court hearing.
Every state requires that the relocating parent give a written notice to the other one. This has to specify the moving date and location. Some divorce orders have specific limitations on these notices, so these should be found and reviewed beforehand.
In Maryland, the custodial parent must give the relocation notice to the other parent, and the family court, 90 days or more before the move. The court may require additional information on the notice, such as the reason for the move or contact information. If neither parent objects, they need to send the agreement terms to the court.
After the noncustodial parent receives the notice, they will have a certain time frame to file an objection with the local court. If the noncustodial parent protests the move, they have 20 days to file a petition with the court, requesting that the judge block the move. An expedited hearing is scheduled to decide what is best for the children.
Once the objection is filed, an evidentiary hearing will be held with a judge or magistrate. The next step after this would be a court hearing, where the judge decides the case.
In the Children’s Best Interest
At the hearing, the court needs to decide what is in the children’s best interest. The custodial parent will need to provide a “good faith basis” reason for the move, such as more suitable schools, a better job with higher earning potential, an improved quality of life, or family ties.
Each parent can argue their case, and the judge will consider many different factors. This includes the children’s gender, ages and health, along with their physical wellbeing. The court will also look at the new home and environment. Further, parents will be evaluated to see if they are fit enough to care for the children, as well as their reputations and moral character.
Other factors include how the children get along with each parent; any history of abandonment, abuse, or domestic violence; and if there are any standing custody or visitation agreements. Some custodial parents attempt to relocate in order to reduce the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, so this matter may also be explored.
The parents’ wishes are considered, and if the children are mature enough to contribute opinions, they will have an opportunity to express their feelings as well. No favoritism is shown towards a mother versus a father; each result is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Baltimore County Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Resolve Child Custody Relocation Disputes
The Baltimore County child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC help couples resolve complex child custody relocation cases. We are committed to settling your case fairly and quickly. Call 443-589-0150 or contact us online today.
With offices conveniently located in Towson and Hunt Valley our lawyers are ready to assist families throughout Maryland, including the communities of Cockeysville, Lutherville Timonium, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Riderwood, Sparks Glencoe, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, Baldwin, Upperco, and Hyde.