Child Custody and Relocation: 5 Essential Things to Know
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Child Custody and Relocation: 5 Essential Things to Know

May 19, 2021 | Articles, Child Custody

By:  Amanda Vann, 301.563.6685

People choose to move for various reasons, a new job, be closer to family, and financial hardships. Still, if you are co-parenting and have a custody and visitation schedule or court order that addresses custody, there are some things that you need to think about and consider before you move.

If your move would change your child’s daycare or school, you should notify the other parent and come up with a new parenting plan that addresses custody and visitation. If the two of you cannot reach an agreement on the changes to the custody schedule on your own, try attending mediation before filing in court.

  1. Ultimately, if you two cannot reach an agreement, you will need to file in court to have the schedule and visitation schedule changed by a judge, and the judge will tell you when you can move and what the new schedule will be. It doesn’t always mean that you will remain the primary custodial parent because you had primary custody. In Maryland, the court will look at what is in the child’s best interest, so be very mindful of your reasons for seeking a move before you decide to take that next step.
  2.  Before moving, discuss with the other parent any changes that will need to be made to schools or daycare that the child will be attending and any costs associated with enrollment into those schools. Remember that transitioning to a new school can impact your child’s mental health, so take the necessary steps to talk with your child together about any anxieties or fears they may have. Additionally, visit their new school together (if possible) and encourage your child to get involved in their new school to meet new friends.
  3. Before moving, discuss with the other parent any new healthcare providers that you will need to have in place, such as a pediatrician, dentist, etc. It is crucial that you discuss the child’s healthcare coverage and take the steps necessary to ensure that the child continues to have healthcare insurance and if the new medical provider is in-network. Additionally, the parents will need to discuss payment for out-of-pocket medical expenses and give ample time to have all medical records sent to the new provider and notifications set up for both parents.
  4. Notify the other parent as soon as you know you will be moving. Courts will not look favorably upon a parent who holds the information as leverage. Additionally, the more time you have to work things out, the better off you and your children will be.
  5. The laws in each state vary, but typically, the court will retain jurisdiction of your child custody case for some time, generally until the child has resided in their new state for more than six months. So don’t think that just because you may move to a new state that you can immediately file for a change of custody in that new state, the law may not be in your favor, and you can be forced to come back before your matter would transfer.

If you are considering moving and have a custody schedule in place, please schedule a consultation with me to discuss how a move can impact custody.

About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at or call 301.563.6685.