Relocating After Divorce in Maryland

Following a divorce in Maryland, it is not uncommon for the custodial parent to relocate to another neighborhood, city, or even state with the children. However, state laws outline the steps a relocating parent must take prior to moving away with the kids – no matter if the move is within or outside of Maryland. 

First, the moving parent must give the non-relocating parent and the family court a written notice at least 90 days in advance of the proposed move (sent by certified mail with a return receipt request). However, the two exceptions to this rule are if providing such notice would place the child or relocating parent in danger of abuse, or the moving parent must relocate in less than 90 days for financial purposes or other extenuating circumstances. 

The following information must be included in the notice: 

  • The new address 

  • The new phone number (if applicable) 

  • The reason for relocation (e.g. remarriage, new job, moving closer to family and other sources of support, etc.) 

When the noncustodial parent (or non-relocating parent) receives the notice, he/she has 20 days to either approve or block the move. If the noncustodial parent agrees to the move, the parents provide the court with written terms of their agreement. If the noncustodial parent wishes to block the move, he/she must file a petition with the court, which will schedule a hearing date. 

At the hearing, a judge will determine whether to approve the relocation based on the child’s best interests. Keep in mind, neither parent has the burden of proof. 

Common factors the court will consider include: 

  • The child’s age, gender, and health 

  • The child’s physical, moral, and spiritual well-being 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent 

  • Each parent’s character and reputation 

  • Each parent’s willingness to work with the other parent to take care of the child 

  • If relocation interferes or is intended to interfere with the non-custodial parent's visitation rights 

  • How the move will benefit the child 

  • Any other factors related to the best interests of the child 

If the judge approves the relocation, the non-custodial parent may receive more visitation during school breaks, holidays, and summers. If the judge decides that the best interests of the child are not moving, the non-moving parent may become the custodial parent. 

If you are interested in relocating with your child or blocking the other parent’s proposal in Annapolis, contact the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis today at (410) 593-0040 for a free phone consultation. More than 25 years of family law experience! 

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