Montgomery County Relocation Lawyer

Even once you have legally dissolved your marriage to a former spouse, you may not be entirely free to live your life separately from them if the two of you share child custody or visitation rights. For example, if you want to change residences and move away from a co-parent of your child without that co-parent’s permission, you will likely need to seek court approval and potentially a modification of your existing custody or visitation agreement.

There are specific procedures you must follow to lawfully complete the relocation process, and failing to seek help from a seasoned family attorney can make it hard to adhere to them all successfully. Once retained, a Montgomery County relocation lawyer could help you understand exactly what you need to do to facilitate your move and ensure you fulfill every prerequisite set out by state law.

Legal Requirements Before Relocating

Any parent seeking to move themselves and their child away from that child’s other parent may have to notify both the court that established their existing custody or visitation order and the other parent at least 90 days before the date on which they plan to move. This provision may be included in your final custody order or there may be another notification requirement, this notification requirement applies regardless of whether the relocating parent will move to another state or stay within Maryland’s borders.

The aforementioned notice must be sent via certified mail and include information about the intent to locate the parent and the minor child and where they will be relocating. Once they receive notice of relocation plans, if the non-relocating parent files a petition within 20 days to contest the move in court, the court shall provide a hearing on an expedited basis.

Importantly, a relocating parent may not required to notify their child’s other parent of their intentions if they can show a court that doing so would endanger them and/or their child. Furthermore, the 90-day deadline can be tolled if the relocating parent can show that dire financial straits or other urgent circumstances require them to move with less than 90 days of notice. If necessary, a Montgomery County relocation attorney could help pursue exceptions to the notification rule under these or other grounds.

Factors that Montgomery County Courts May Consider

Courts that establish child custody and visitation orders in Montgomery County generally will not agree to modify those orders unless something happens that materially changes the life of the child to whom that order applies. Since one parent moving far away from the other and taking the child with them may constitute such a material change, a relocating parent may have the burden to their relocation would serve their child’s best interests in order for the court to modify their existing custody order and allow the move to proceed.

Like in any other case involving the best interests of a child, courts considering a relocation petition may take a number of factors under consideration while making a decision, including but not limited to:

  • The wishes of both parents and, if they are old enough, the child or children involved
  • The home environment the child would have after relocating with their parent
  • Educational and social opportunities for the child
  • Current educational and social opportunities for the child at their home
  • Existing relationships and support networks for the child
  • The relationship the child has with each parent, as well as whether either parent has a history of abuse or neglect
  • How the move would hinder the non-relocating parent’s custody or visitation rights

An experienced lawyer could go into further detail about what a Montgomery County court might focus on when deciding whether to allow relocation.

Seek Guidance from a Montgomery County Relocation Attorney

Whether it is for a new job, getting closer to family, or simply a change of scenery, moving away from your child’s other parent may require a court’s permission under certain circumstances. If you cannot effectively demonstrate how your move would benefit both you and your child, you may have a lot of trouble getting a court to go along with your plans.

Fortunately, help is available in that regard from a knowledgeable Montgomery County relocation lawyer. To see how a dedicated legal representative could help ensure your move is lawful, call today to set up a consultation.