In our ever-changing world, families find themselves changing residences more frequently than ever before. The move may be occasioned by a job opportunity, a new relationship, or a desire to be closer to other family members. Moving can be complicated enough, but if you are a custodial parent in Maryland and need to make a significant move, such as a move out of state, you must get the court’s permission to make the move with your child.
As with any legal determination that affects a child, the court will focus on the best interests of the child. In Maryland, the burden of proof falls on the relocating parent to demonstrate that the proposed move will not be contrary to the child’s best interests.
In considering whether the move is desirable, the court may consider such factors as the age and level of development of the child, whether the child wishes to move, and whether educational and other opportunities for the child would be improved in the new location. A judge is more likely to favor a move if the custodial parent can demonstrate that the move will improve the child’s circumstances enough to offset the potential difficulties it likely will involve.
The court will pay very close attention to the impact the move would have on the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent, particularly if the distance involved would seriously hamper opportunities for parenting time. Unsurprisingly, Maryland courts do not favor moves of residence that they suspect are proposed for the purpose of frustrating the other parent’s access to the child. If the original custody order specified restrictions on travel or moving, those will have a significant impact on the court’s decision, as well.
At The Law Office of Michael Golburgh, we are committed to helping clients move forward into a new life after divorce. When a custodial parent wants to move with a child, it can be an opportunity for an ex-spouse to make that parent’s life more difficult, especially if they fear their relationship with the child will be threatened by the move.
If our client needs to move, we work to negotiate an agreement to consent to the move wherever possible and then receive the court’s permission. If the proposed move still meets with opposition, we will file a motion for the court to allow the move, and back it up with evidence in our client’s favor.
When it is our client who is faced with the prospect of an ex moving away with their child, we work diligently to help preserve the parent-child relationship, including opposing the move in court if that is called for. This is one of those instances where aggressive litigation may be called for.