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Relocation can lead to a custody dispute

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Some of our Maryland readers may find themselves in this situation one day: the divorce is over, the issues have been settled and agreed to and now everyone is trying to go along within the framework of those agreements. Then it happens - one of the parents brings up relocation, maybe because of employment or maybe because they have started a new relationship with someone who lives in another state. When this situation arises, both parents might be thinking, "What does this mean for our child custody agreement?"

This issue can be extremely complex or relatively easy. If the divorced spouses agreed to a child custody plan during the divorce process, perhaps the goodwill exists for them to agree to a custody modification. However, if the custody arrangement was the result of protracted fighting and litigation, a child custody dispute could play out all over again.

When a Maryland court needs to make a decision on child custody, whether regarding physical custody or legal custody, that court will do so under the standard of "best interests of the child." This is admittedly a subjective standard, but with so many factors to consider it does provide a broad perspective from which to view each situation.

When one parent wants to relocate some issues in the existing agreement will probably need to be modified. If this can be done without a custody dispute, both parties will be better off, as will their children. However, for either the parent trying to move or the parent trying to stay, knowing your rights and options in this situation could make a big difference in reaching a favorable resolution to the issue.

Source: WRAL Techwire, "Child custody in today's mobile society," William S. Durr, Feb. 27, 2013

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