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Relocation can upend a child custody arrangement in Maryland

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Many Maryland residents know that just getting through a divorce is hard enough. With so many issues to resolve, including alimony, property division, child custody and child support, a divorce can be one of the most complicated times of a person's life. However, when a divorce involves children and a subsequent post-divorce parenting plan, one issue in particular, even after everything is said and done, can bring back all the emotions surrounding the divorce proceedings: relocation.

Although co-parenting arrangements that involve new and innovative ways of dealing with the physical custody of a child are being developed in today's family courts, most situations still involve awarding physical custody of a child to one parent over the other. That parent is usually then referred to as the "custodial" parent, while the other is referred to as the "non-custodial" parent. When the custodial parent wants to move, for whatever reason, the result can be a serious child custody dispute.

As a recent article noted, it usually doesn't matter how far the custodial parent wants to move - the main point is that the existing child custody arrangement is likely to need a significant overhaul if the custodial parent is allowed to relocate with the child. Most family court judges are skeptical about custody modifications, so the onus is usually on the parent requesting the move to prove that the relocation will be in the child's best interest.

Most experts agree that a child needs to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents in a post-divorce family situation. Relocation, however, can upend this traditional view. That is why anyone who is either fighting for or against a relocation effort had better be prepared to prove their case effectively.

Source: The Huffington Post, "In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases," Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 12, 2014

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