Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Custodial parent moving out of state

I would like to know if my ex-wife can move my two children out of state without my permission. There ages are 14 and 12.

Asked on 1/20/01, 9:25 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Lisa Lane McDevitt McDevitt Law Office

Re: Custodial parent moving out of state

First, it is important to know whether custody has been granted to the mother by a court order and what type of custody was granted. If so you could always seek to modify custody through the courts, but you must do it quickly while MD courts still have jurisdiction. If a court has never issued a custody order then you could always file an action for custody right away. If you do not wish to fight for custody you should immediately negotiate a visitation agreement and negotiate who will bear the cost of travel for each visit. Perhaps you could argue that you won't fight for custody if you are satisfied with a new visitation agreement and the cost allocation. Whatever you agree to you should file it with the court in order to receive a court order. If you have any questions, please call my office at 301-652-0663.

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Answered on 2/13/01, 6:41 pm

Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.

Re: Custodial parent moving out of state

You can't stop your ex-wife from moving out of the state, and if she has court-ordered custody of your child she can take the child with her. You can file a motion to modify (change) custody and/or visitation, since the courts in Maryland have held that a custodial parent's move out of the state is a change of circumstance sufficient to justify the court in considering a change of custody. If you file such a motion, you will have a hearing and a chance to present evidence that it is in the best interest of the child to stay with you in Maryland rather than move with the mother. The court's decision will depend to a large extent on where she wants to move to. If it's over the state line, a short distance into a neighboring state, there may be little basis to change custody or visitation. If she wants to move to Iraq or the North Pole, the judge will very likely change custody and order that the child stay here if you are found to be a suitable parent to have custody. If she does end up moving across the country with your child, visitation will most likely be changed to fewer, but longer, periods such as Christmas and summer vacations. In any case, if you ask the court to intervene, some sort of suitable changes in the order will be the result.

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Answered on 2/14/01, 2:23 pm

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