Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Want to move out of state with child.....But.......

i have sole physical custody of our 13 yr old son and wish to move to another state with my child asap. my ex kidnapped our son last weekend but we think he may still be in maryland. the judge is supposed to sign the emergency ex parte and request for relief order today for the immediate return of my son. my ex will not allow me to leave the state i'm sure. what would happen if i left anyway after i got my child back? if the ex filed for custody after i left, would i have to come back here? if i left w/out his permission (he only has visitation rights) would i then be kidnapping our child? i would never keep the child from his father once i move, if i can move.

Asked on 2/01/01, 7:47 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Stone The Stone Law Firm
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Re: Want to move out of state with child.....But.......

Much depends on the language of the order. You say you have sole custody, but is that legal custody as well as physical? Also, does the order say anything about notifying your ex regarding upcoming moves out of state? Arguably, your ex has a right to have notice of a move to give him an opportunity to petititon the court for a change in custody, and a court can determine whether a ne exeat (order not to leave the state) would be appropriate prior to hearing a petititon to change custody, if your ex chose to pursue one.

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3/16/01, 8:39 am
Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.
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Re: Want to move out of state with child.....But.......

If you have sole custody you can move out of the state with your son, but the courts have held that a move out of the state with the child gives the non-custodial parent grounds to petition for a change of custody. Please note: that doesn't mean that the non-custodial parent gets custody, just that he can go to the court with an opportunity to present evidence about why the best interest of the child would be to stay in Maryland, with him, rather than move to another state with you. The judge would consider evidence of the child's ties to the community, to friends and relatives in the area, to the quality of schools where you have been living and where you intend to go, to job opportunities for you which might provide for a better life for the child, and any other factors one might think of which would to do with what is best for the child. The judge would consider the wishes of your son, since he is thirteen and old enough for his wishes to count for something. And the judge would certainly consider the fact that the father has kidnapped the child and kept his location hidden for a period of time. Judges do not like child-snatching, and unless there are other relevant facts which you haven't mentioned, I doubt that the father would be awarded custody.

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3/16/01, 4:43 pm

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