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Can Maryland Parents Move out Of State with Kids After Their Divorce?

Law Office of Kari Holm Fawcett

Parents in the state of Maryland must provide notice and obtain permission and/or a court order in order to relocate their child’s permanent residence in or out of state.

Following a divorce, it is common for people in Bowie, and throughout Maryland, to desire a change. Some may move in an effort to pursue employment or education opportunities, while others may want to be closer to family or just need a change. For parents, however, there may be more to the process than just packing up and hitting the road. Depending on the circumstances of their custody arrangements, parents may require permission to move out of the state with their children after a divorce.

Notice of Intent to Relocate

Unless doing so would expose children or parents to abuse, those seeking to relocate their child’s permanent residence must provide written notice of their intent. This is the case whether they plan to move to a new home in the state of Maryland, or move out of state. Under state law, parents must give this notice to the child’s other parent, the court or both within 90 days of the proposed child relocation.

Objecting to The Move

Simply sending the notice does not guarantee that people will be permitted to relocate with their children. The parent who is not moving has the opportunity to object to the move. Maryland state law stipulates that people who wish to contest a child relocation must file a petition within 20 days of the notice of intent to relocate. The court will then schedule a hearing to determine whether to allow the move and a custody modification. Such hearings may also be initiated by the court itself.

Determining the Child’s Best Interests

When deciding whether to allow a child relocation, the court will consider a number of factors. It is the goal of the court to determine if a move is in the best interests of the child. According to the Maryland courts, the factors the court will consider in such cases include the following:

  • The child’s age, sex and health

  • The fitness of each parent

  • The character and reputation of both parents

  • The child’s preference

Additionally, the court may take into account where each of the parents lives and how their residences affect visitation opportunities. The material opportunities that the relocation may provide, which may have an effect on the child’s future life may also be considered.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Obtaining permission for a relocation can be difficult for parents in Maryland, and elsewhere. This is particularly true in cases when their divorces were acrimonious, or they do not have a good relationship. As such, those who are considering moving out of the state with their children may benefit from consulting with a legal representative. An attorney may explain their options, and help guide them through the process.