Relocating With Your Child After Divorce Can Be Complicated

Many people in Maryland who get divorced want to move far away from their ex-spouses. However, you should talk to your attorney before making plans if you want to move after your divorce and have children from the marriage.

Depending on the details of the child custody agreement, moving without taking the required legal steps can lead to severe problems, including even criminal charges. Talk to our Montgomery County child relocation attorney at Shah & Kishore if you wish to relocate after divorce with your children.

Notice Of Intent To Relocate

Those who want to relocate a child’s permanent residence must give the other parent a notice of intent to relocate. For example, if you wish to move from Baltimore to another Maryland city or relocate out of state is required. Under Maryland law, you must give the other parent, court, or both a written notice within 90 days of the proposed move unless your signed agreement states otherwise.

This notice usually includes the new physical address, phone number, and reason for the relocation. The relocating parent must send the notice by certified mail with a return receipt requested. The only exceptions to providing a notice of intent to relocate are:

  • If giving notice would expose the adult or child to abuse
  • Financial reasons that make a shorter notice necessary
  • Additional extenuating circumstances

Your Ex-Spouse Can Object

Sending the notice of intent to relocate does not always suffice. Your ex-partner who is not moving can object to your move. Maryland law states that those who want to object to a child relocation must file a petition with the court within 20 days of receiving the notice of intent to relocate. After that, the Maryland court will set a hearing to decide if the move will be allowed and to modify the custody agreement.

What Is In The Child’s Best Interests?

The judge will consider the child’s best interests when deciding on child custody or a child relocation request. The factors that the court will review include:

  • The age, sex, and health of the child
  • Each parent’s fitness (physical, mental, and emotional)
  • The potential benefits of the move for the child
  • The reputation and character of both parents
  • What the child prefers

Also, the court can consider where each parent resides and how where they live affect child visitation concerns. The judge will also consider the potential financial and material gains the move may provide to the child’s future.

How Do You Change The Joint Custody Agreement If One Parent Relocates?

It is important to remember that your custody agreement was approved by the court and is legally binding. Therefore, you should not relocate with your child if the relocation does not follow the current custody order. You must ask the court to alter the custody agreement if you want to relocate.

If you and the other parent agree on a new custody arrangement, it is possible to avoid additional litigation and expense. When you decide to modify custody, your attorney will draft the new custody agreement and send it to the judge for approval. After the new order is signed, it is legally binding as the previous one was.

What About Child Support If The Parent Without Custody Moves?

Parents are required to support their children financially wherever they live. Out-of-state child support enforcement organizations will help the state of Maryland collect child support payments. Whether it is you or your ex who are moving, be sure you let the Maryland Child Support Administration (CSA) know. This will ensure that child support payments continue uninterrupted.

If the other parent relocates to avoid paying court-ordered child support, you should call your Montgomery County divorce attorney immediately. They will ensure that your ex continues to meet their financial obligations.

How Does A Military Relocation Affect Child Custody And Visitation?

Armed forced members often relocate, which can make life tricky after divorce. If you or your ex are in the military, federal laws affect your child custody case and supersede state laws. These relocations are more complicated than others, so you should speak to your attorney if you are in the military and need to relocate.

Moving Without The Court’s Permission

If the custodial parent moves without the court’s permission, they may face severe criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. They also may lose custody of minor children to the other parent.

How To Help Your Child Cope With Relocation

If you have asked permission to relocate with your child and the court approves it, you must be patient and reassuring to help your child deal with change. Divorce, as well as relocation, are often tricky for children, but there are ways to ease the transition:

Make Your New Home Feel Like Home

Many children have two homes after divorce. If you are relocating with your child to another city or state, do what you can to make the new location feel like their home. Let them help you decorate and allow them to take many of their belongings with them, including favorite toys, blankets, etc. Keeping the child in their regular routine is critical to their well-being as they adjust to their new home.

Give The Child Plenty Of Time

All children are different, but younger children may adapt to relocation after divorce better than older ones. This is because they have fewer long-term attachments than older children and teens may. Give the child plenty of time to adjust to the new home on their terms. Talk to them about adjusting, but also be willing to back off if they do not want to talk about it sometimes.

Watch For Warning Signs

Take notice if you see your child becoming more withdrawn, angry, or having trouble at school. These could be signs that they are struggling with the relocation. Also, be sure they can maintain contact and visitation with your ex; seeing the other parent will help them keep a sense of self and normalcy that is important for future growth.

Contact Our Montgomery County Child Relocation Attorney Today

It is understandable after a divorce if you want to move to another city or state to start anew. However, relocation is more complicated if you have children with your ex-spouse. Therefore, before you consider moving, you should talk to a qualified attorney to ensure Maryland’s strict laws are followed for child relocation. Please contact our Montgomery County child relocation attorneys at Shah & Kishore today at (301) 315-0001 to discuss your case.

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