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Can I relocate for my new job if I have joint custody?

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After a divorce Maryland parents may find themselves in a difficult situation: sharing custody of their children but offered the job of their dreams in another state. What's a parent to do in this type of situation? You may be wondering if you are allowed to take the job even though it would cause a huge child custody dispute. For the most part, you would be allowed by the courts to make the move if the other parent agrees.

Of course, it can be challenging to co-parent when the parents are living in another state. However, there are good reasons why the court would allow a parent to move. Besides a job offer, the parent can move to be closer to family, continue education or live in an area with a more reasonable cost of living. However, if the sole reason for the move is to retaliate against the other parent, then the court will not allow it.

A move outside the state is considered significant and may not be approved by the court. This is because the court must keep the best interests of the child in mind. Relocation can affect a child emotionally, especially if the child will not see the other parent as often. But, if a parent wants to attempt to relocate, that parent will first need to send notice to the other parent first. This must be given to the non-custodial parent in writing within a specific timeframe, usually 30, 60 or 90 days before the proposed move. The parent is often given the option to object to the move.

If the move is approved, the courts will likely need to review the current child custody agreement and make modifications as necessary. Parents should always want what is best for their children, and while a move can be devastating sometimes a new job can help financially.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Relocation Laws," accessed Oct. 18, 2014

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