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Can a custodial parent move out of state without consent?

If you are going through a divorce, you should not be surprised if you have a desire after it is finalized to make a fresh start to your life. In many cases, people will move to a new location or find a new job in another city. However, if you are a parent after a divorce, more specifically, the custodial parent, can you move out of state with a child? 

Do you already have rules in place?

If you are a parent who wants to relocate out of state with your child, you may find complications with that plan. First thing you should do is read over the details of your child custody in your divorce decree. You may find that there is a parenting plan that directly addresses the topic of relocation. It is important that you follow the rules that have been documented in your divorce decree. If you fail to abide by the rules, when it does come time to make your request for a move, your previous actions may have a negative impact on the ruling.

Notice of intent

As a resident of Maryland, if you are seeking to relocate with a child, you must provide notice of your intent. You must give this notice to the court and/or the other parent within 90 days of the move. This notice is required for moves both in and out of state. 

Sending a notice of your intentions to move will not automatically allow you to make the move. The other parent under Maryland law has the right to contest the move and can file a petition within 20 days of the notice. During a hearing on this issue, factors such as the age and health of the child, character and reputation of the parents and the preference of the child will all be taken into consideration. As the parent who is requesting the move, you should be prepared to show:

  • How the move will provide a better life for the child.
  • That you are willing to allow for longer but less frequent visits from the other parent.
  • You will fully support the changes made to the visitation schedule.
  • This move is not done to prohibit the other parent from having access to the child. 

You should take time to consider if the move you are planning to make is beneficial for both you and the child. Being granted permission to relocate with a child can be difficult. The impact of this type of move that takes a child away from another parent and the life that they have grown accustomed to may be greater than your desire to give yourself a fresh start after a divorce.