Relocation of Children after Divorce
Sometimes, after divorce, one parent may be considering relocation to find residency in another state, taking the minor children (child) with them. Often, this action will cause substantial issues with the child in their relationship with the parent that is not relocating. If the court allows the relocation, the visitation rights of the non-relocating parent will need to be adjusted. Sometimes, the court decides that a change in child custody serves the better interest of the young one.
Stability is often the issue when the court makes a determination. Often time, the judge recognizes that the primary caretaker for the child can add more stability in their young life. Additionally, allowing the child to remain in their current location provides much-needed support from friends, as an extended family in familiar surroundings. It is critical that parents recognize the negative consequences that can possibly be created through a secretive move, because it can quickly cut off visitation opportunities of the non-relocated parent.
Maintaining Family Relations
The legal system in Maryland recognizes the necessity to maintain the child’s natural family relations. In effect, this means that each parent must help foster a healthy relationship between their child and his or her other parent. As a result, courts look long and hard at the potential impact of allowing a child to move with one parent to a distant state, and the obstacles the move creates for the parent that has been left behind.
Obtaining a Court Order
In Maryland, the parent considering a move to another state must obtain a court order from a presiding judge. This advance notice of relocation will be the written notification that is submitted at least 90 days before the potential move. Typically, courts often permit a waiver of any required notice in incidences where the notice could potentially expose the petitioning party or their child to abuse.
Additionally, sometimes a waiver of the 90 day period can be achieved when it can be shown to the court that the relocation was essential because of extenuating circumstances including financial hardship. However, this would require that notice be submitted to the court within a reasonable amount of time after it was learned that relocation was a necessity. In cases of major violation of providing notice to the court, judges often use the action to help determine custody and/or visitation in the future.
Making the decision to relocate children after a divorce should always be founded on the best interest of each child. By asking pertinent questions and listening to the child’s response, each parent, attorney and the court can best understand the young person’s desires and preferences in determining relocation and visitation.
The process of maintaining rights of divorced parents and children in the legal system can be challenging, and one that often requires the skills of a competent attorney in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland. With practical considerations in determining whether to move or stay, the law is usually on the side of what is best for the child.