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If You Move Away from Your Ex and You Have Shared Child Custody

Law Office of Kari Holm Fawcett

You just landed your dream job! The only problem is, it’s in Virginia Beach. That’s a long way from Baltimore, where, your son and your ex-husband currently live. How does your move affect your child custody arrangement?

Under Maryland law, you can’t just up and move without getting consent from your ex or the court. The first thing you need to do is give notice of your move. Under most circumstances, you have to give your ex-spouse and the court written notice of your relocation at least 90 days before your move. There are a couple exceptions to this rule: If you can demonstrate to the court that providing such notice would lead to harm to you or your child, it’s possible that this requirement may be waived. Additionally, the court may show some flexibility with the 90-day notice if your circumstances require you to move sooner than that, but you make a good-faith effort to give as much notice as possible.

Some courthouses have a relocation request form. Use one if it is available, and send your request by certified mail, with confirmation of delivery. Your notice should contain as much relevant information as possible, for instance:

  • Why you’re moving

  • Your new address

  • Your new phone number

After receiving your notice, your ex has 20 days to contest the move. He can petition the court to bar you from moving. In this case, the court will hold a relocation hearing to decide what course of action is in the best interest of your child.

If, however, your ex agrees to your move, this simplifies the process greatly. In this case, you and your ex should file a written agreement with the court.