Howard and Montgomery County Attorneys Help Alter Child Custody and Child Support Orders When a Parent Relocates
From offices in Rockville, Columbia, Fulton and Bethesda, we make sure the best interests of children are protected when a divorced parent moves
Sometimes a parent needs to move because his/her company requires it or because the parent cannot find local employment but can find a job in another state. A parent may want to move because she/he is marrying a new partner whose family lives in another state. Parents who want to relocate with their children may face more legal challenges than a noncustodial parent who just wants to renegotiate the time he/she visits with the child.
At McCabe Russell, PA, we represent parents seeking to relocate, parents who object to their children’s relocation and children who may be affected by a move. Our Montgomery and Howard County parental relocation attorneys have extensive experience negotiating new custody agreements and litigating new terms of child support orders in court. We are adept at working out many of the practical issues that relocation brings. We understand the emotional, financial and legal difficulties that relocating can cause children. Our firm understands that the family court places a high priority on the need for children to have stability. We are prepared to represent your interests from our offices in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville.
The 90-day notice requirement
Maryland requires that a parent who wants or needs to relocate within Maryland, to another state or to another country give the other parent at least 90 days’ notice of the move. A judge can waive the 90-day notice requirement if there is a legitimate concern that providing the notice would expose a child or the parent to abuse, or if there is other good cause. Less than 90 days’ notice may be given if there are valid financial reasons and the parent who is moving gives the maximum notice possible. For example, a relocating parent may only be given 60 days’ notice for a job transfer. The waiver and the exception are meant to balance protections for parent and child with the rights of the non-relocating parent.
The notice should include the family’s new address and phone number, as well as the reason for the move. The relocating parent should send the notice by certified mail with a return receipt requested so there is verification the notice was received. Alternative service may be required.
Our lawyers file the correct petition, including the request for an expedited hearing. We represent parents at the hearing unless an agreement can be reached beforehand.
The rights and concerns of the relocating parent
A parent who has sole or joint physical custody of his/her children will normally seek court approval to have the children move with them to a new location. Our attorneys address the following concerns the judge and the non-relocating parent are likely to have:
- How the move will affect the child. A move to a new county or state means having to attend a new school, losing old friends and losing the ease of contact with the parent who stays behind.
- The circumstances surrounding the new location. What is the condition of the new home or apartment? What is the reputation of the schools? Are there children your child’s age? Will any other relatives be nearby?
- The child’s wishes. Children, especially older children, may not be happy with the move and their wishes may be taken into consideration.
A parent who does not have sole or joint legal or physical custody normally visits with their children for a specific number of days during the week and a set number of holidays, plus they may have vacation time with their child. A relocating parent who is not a custodial parent may seek to alter the visitation schedule so that it is a continuous block of time, typically during the summer and around the holidays.
The rights and concerns of the non-relocating parent
The non-relocating parent’s wishes and interests may not align with their children moving to a new location. Any move requires a rearrangement of where the child resides and when the noncustodial parent will have time with their child. The non-relocating parent may be concerned about visitation adjustments and how the child will travel between distant locations.
If the relocating parent wants to take your child with him/her and you want sole or joint physical custody, then the help of an experienced attorney is essential. You will need to review with your lawyer:
- Whether you consent to the move
- What fears and concerns you have about the move
- What reasonable objections to the move you have
- What are the wishes of your children
- Other relevant factors depending on your unique situation
Generally, the court will examine the following issues before making its ruling on how the relocation affects parental rights and obligations:
- What is in the best interests of the child
- The willingness and past history of cooperation or noncooperation between the parents
- The bond between each parent and child
- The health of the parents and children
- The reason for the move
- The child’s ability to adapt to the move
- The distance involved
- The prior involvement of the other parent in the child’s education, upbringing and social interactions
- The practical logistics involved in the move
- Whether there are siblings who also need to move
In addition to modifying the custody order, the move may indicate that a change in the support order is necessary. For example, if a father is moving because he gets a higher-paying job, then the children should enjoy part of that financial increase in the form of a higher support order.
Talk with a Howard and Montgomery County parental relocation lawyer today
Our lawyers understand the urgency of a parental relocation hearing. We understand that some moves are necessary and healthy, while other moves can be harmful to the child and the non-relocating parent. We work to find common ground where possible, but fight aggressively for our client’s interests. To speak with a caring Maryland relocation attorney, please call McCabe Russell, PA at 443-812-1435 now. You can also complete our contact form. We are located in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville.