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A Parent’s Guide to Relocation Laws in Maryland

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Child custody laws in Maryland not only govern the court’s initial decisions regarding a child’s custody and decision-making, but also what unfolds over time. It is not uncommon for life to change, which means that parents may need to make adjustments to existing child custody agreements. For that to happen, though, careful exploration of the rules put in place by the court is critical. That includes relocation laws in Maryland.

At Petrelli Previtera, our child custody attorneys and family lawyers are available to answer all your questions about child custody and relocation laws. If you need to consider relocation or your child’s other parent is considering relocating, you need to know your rights and obligations. We are happy to discuss those with you during a consultation.

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Can You Move After Divorce in Maryland?

In Maryland, much like in many other states, parents are required to adhere to child custody laws and observe any court-issued custody agreement strictly. Life, however, can sometimes necessitate change, including a potential move post-divorce.

When one parent wishes to move with their child, it can significantly impact the existing custody arrangement. In Maryland, the parent seeking to relocate must provide written notice to the other parent and any other individuals entitled to visitation or custody rights. The notice must include specific information, such as the intended move, the reasons for the relocation, and a proposed revised custody schedule.

If the non-relocating parent objects to the move, they must petition the court within a specified timeframe. The court will then assess whether the proposed relocation is in the child’s best interests. Factors considered include the child’s relationship with both parents, educational opportunities, and the move’s impact on the child’s overall well-being.

The court will evaluate various factors to determine whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. These factors may include the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent, the potential impact on the child’s emotional and educational needs, the reasons for the proposed move, and the ability of the relocating parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child despite the distance.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional, like those at Petrelli Previtera, to learn the Maryland laws and requirements that may impact your request for relocation.

Factors the Court Considers in Relocation Matters

How does the court make a decision, then, about whether allowing one parent to relocate is acceptable? In some situations, relocation may seem like an essential step due to medical needs or employment. Other times, it may bring one parent closer to family. Yet, the question the court needs to determine the answer to is what is best for the child.

To make such decisions, the court is likely to use a wide range of factors to determine the best course of action. Here are some examples of what that may be:

  • What is the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent?
  • Does the child have close ties to their school or local community programs?
  • What is the child’s age, and how does that impact their ability to process these changes?
  • What is the reason for the custodial parent moving away?
  • What is in the best interests of the entire family, including grandparents or others involved in the day-to-day lives of the child?
  • What will the stress of the move mean to the child? More so, will it create significant instability in an already fragile situation?
  • What are the benefits of the move to the child, specifically?
  • What recommendations does the Guardian ad Litem have in this situation?
  • What alternative options may be available to meet all family needs?

Looking for more Information? Download our FREE Guide “Parenting Through Divorce”

When considering relocation requests in Maryland, the court considers various factors—the child’s best interests being the top consideration.  Other considerations might include the child’s age, health, and attachment to each parent, how a move might affect their education and social life, and reasons for the relocation. For instance, a move for a  job opportunity might be viewed more favorably than a move intended to limit the other parent’s visitation rights. The relocating parent’s ability to facilitate the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent after the move is also a key consideration. Each case is looked at individually, so getting legal advice is recommended for a fuller description of how these factors may impact your particular situation.

Considering Relocation in Maryland? Notify the Other Parent and the Court

If you want to move with your child and are the custodial parent in Maryland, there are important steps to follow. First, you need to notify the other parent about your intention to relocate within the state. They should have time to decide whether they accept the move or want to discuss alternative arrangements.

If the other parent doesn’t respond or an agreement cannot be reached, you may need to involve the court. You will need to petition the court for a modification to the existing custody agreement. It’s important to note that court approval is necessary for any modifications to be legally binding in Maryland.

To request a modification, you can:

  • Try to reach a mutual agreement with the other parent.
  • Provide written notification of your intentions to the court.
  • Obtain a court order allowing for the modification.

When possible, it’s best to come to an agreement with the other parent, as this allows both parents to make decisions together without court interference. However, even if both parents agree, the court must still approve the modification.

If you receive a relocation request from the other parent in Maryland and disagree with it, you have the right to contest the request. You can file a petition with the court to block the relocation. The court will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision.

When it comes to court orders in child custody relocations in Maryland, the court will assess various factors, including the reasons for the move, the impact on the child, changes in the child’s standard of living, the child’s relationship with the other parent, and the potential impact on other family members. If the child is old enough, their opinion may also be considered.

Remember, it’s important to follow the required steps and consider the best interests of the child when seeking a relocation with a child in Maryland.

What to Do If You Need to Relocate in Maryland

As a parent in Maryland, there are many situations in which relocating may become necessary. Some of the most common reasons for this include:

  • Employment
  • Being closer to family for financial support
  • Needing a fresh start
  • Other economic reasons for the move
  • Emotional support that may be available

If you are considering the need to relocate in Maryland, your first step should be to contact a family law attorney who can guide you through the specific requirements of Maryland law. Our legal team will answer any of the questions you have about the relocation process in Maryland and offer insight into the best way forward for your individual situation.

If the other parent agrees and accepts the relocation within Maryland, we can assist you in drafting the necessary notifications to send to the court and help ensure the court approves of the move. As noted, the court does not prevent a person from moving within Maryland but may alter the custodial agreements if it deems that to be in the best interest of the child.

If the other parent does not agree within Maryland, our team will help you with drafting the necessary notifications and start the court order process in Maryland. Our goal will be to facilitate the smoothest possible route forward, helping to minimize the risks of any complications in Maryland. However, we can help with mediation and aiding the court in seeing that the move is, in fact, the best decision for the child.

We will remain by your side throughout the entire process in Maryland, helping you navigate any challenges at any time.

What to Do If the Other Parent Wants to Relocate

If you are a non-custodial parent in Maryland and the other parent expresses their desire to relocate, it is important to understand the state’s relocation laws. In Maryland, the petitioning parent must demonstrate valid grounds for the proposed move. While it is advisable to attempt negotiations and find common ground where possible, there are many situations where conversations and mediation do not work. In that case, it is crucial to recognize that the move may impact your relationship with your child, and you may want to talk with your attorney about actions you can take, such as a court order to stop the move from occurring.

If you believe that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child, there are methods to contest a requested modification of support in addition to opposing the move. It is important to take prompt action to ensure and respond in the allotted time so that .

The Maryland courts aim to preserve relationships and families while advocating for the child’s best interests. By working with our family law team, we can help you to navigate this process. That may include:

  • Petitioning the court to keep the existing child custody agreement in place while requiring the child to remain local to you
  • Petitioning the court to adjust the custodial agreement, perhaps adjusting the order to make you the primary custodial parent
  • Request that the court make a decision on modifications to visitation or custody based on what it believes is best for the child

Related Resources on Maryland Custody Laws

Our website offers an extensive collection of resources dedicated to Maryland custody laws. These resources are designed to provide comprehensive insights into the legalities surrounding child custody modifications in the state of Maryland, including topics regarding the process for modifications in Maryland, how a child’s opinion Influences custody, and how to qualify for a modification of family law orders. Understanding these laws can help you navigate the court system more effectively and advocate for your child’s best interests more efficiently.

How Our Legal Team Can Help with Child Custody Relocation Matters

Decisions about child custody, parenting time, and relocation impact the child’s life and both parent’s lives and potentially the relationship of children to the parents. Make sure you have an attorney by your side to help you navigate this legal process and advocate for your rights.

At Petrelli Previtera, we have been supporting clients for over a decade with a range of family law issues. Our team is passionate about guiding our clients through challenging custody matters. We are here for you, too.

Do not wait to give us a call to learn more about Maryland’s relocation laws and what your rights are. We are here to help you, answer your questions, and provide transparent, honest advice on your options. Schedule a consultation with us now.

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