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There are over a million American active duty personnel stationed worldwide at any given time. Many of them are married and many of them don’t manage to stay married. And when they don’t, they and their spouses can end up facing a whole slew of issues that their civilian counterparts who are breaking up don’t have to deal with.

If your soon-to-be ex is in the military, you can end up facing a number of complications, including where your divorce will be filed, how alimony and child support will be calculated, how to divide the military pension, and what to do about custody and visitation if children are involved.

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Sometimes, after divorce, one parent may be considering relocation to find residency in another state, taking the minor children (child) with them. Often, this action will cause substantial issues with the child in their relationship with the parent that is not relocating. If the court allows the relocation, the visitation rights of the non-relocating parent will need to be adjusted. Sometimes, the court decides that a change in child custody serves the better interest of the young one.

Stability is often the issue when the court makes a determination. Often time, the judge recognizes that the primary caretaker for the child can add more stability in their young life. Additionally, allowing the child to remain in their current location provides much-needed support from friends, as an extended family in familiar surroundings. It is critical that parents recognize the negative consequences that can possibly be created through a secretive move, because it can quickly cut off visitation opportunities of the non-relocated parent.

Maintaining Family Relations

The legal system in Maryland recognizes the necessity to maintain the child’s natural family relations. In effect, this means that each parent must help foster a healthy relationship between their child and his or her other parent. As a result, courts look long and hard at the potential impact of allowing a child to move with one parent to a distant state, and the obstacles the move creates for the parent that has been left behind.

Obtaining a Court Order

In Maryland, the parent considering a move to another state must obtain a court order from a presiding judge. This advance notice of relocation will be the written notification that is submitted at least 90 days before the potential move. Typically, courts often permit a waiver of any required notice in incidences where the notice could potentially expose the petitioning party or their child to abuse.

Waiving Notification

Additionally, sometimes a waiver of the 90 day period can be achieved when it can be shown to the court that the relocation was essential because of extenuating circumstances including financial hardship. However, this would require that notice be submitted to the court within a reasonable amount of time after it was learned that relocation was a necessity. In cases of major violation of providing notice to the court, judges often use the action to help determine custody and/or visitation in the future.

Making the decision to relocate children after a divorce should always be founded on the best interest of each child. By asking pertinent questions and listening to the child’s response, each parent, attorney and the court can best understand the young person’s desires and preferences in determining relocation and visitation.

The process of maintaining rights of divorced parents and children in the legal system can be challenging, and one that often requires the skills of a competent attorney in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland. With practical considerations in determining whether to move or stay, the law is usually on the side of what is best for the child.

Once the court has made a decision and filed an order for custody or visitation, it requires specific action to make a change to the order. There are a number of valid reasons why the court ordered parenting plan would require a change. Often times, when children grow older their interests, activities and needs evolve. Sometimes, one parent, or both, will move on and begin living a more separated life with a new partner. They may have jobs in a new location, live in a residence farther away or other actions that require a change in the custody order.

Sometimes a change in custody or visitation is necessary when one parent is struggling with alcohol or drugs and leaving an unattended child at home. Other scenarios for a modification to the custody order might include the incapacitation or incarceration of a parent that leaves them in a position where they can no longer care for their child. At times when one parent does not fulfill their court-ordered responsibilities, the ex-partner may be able to modify a custody order to the benefit and interest of the child.

Mitigating Circumstances

In most states, the law specifies that any modification to a custody order must involve two specific factors. They include:

  • The court must recognize a considerable change in circumstances in the life of the child and/or custodial parent. It must be a strong enough reason that fully warrants a change of the original custody order.
  • The modification in the custody order must serve the best interest of the child.

Possible Justifiable Circumstances

Determining a substantial change in the custodial parent or child’s circumstance can sometimes be challenging. To obtain a permanent change or modification to a custody order necessitates that the problem or change cannot be a temporary issue or problem that was voluntarily created by the parent. Many courts will consider modifying a custody order under specific conditions that might include:

  • A change in the mental or physical health of the custodial parent
  • The inability or difficulty to carry out the specifics of the parenting plan or custody order
  • A change in the financial structure of each parent
  • The relationship of one parent to the other
  • The level of committed involvement in the child’s life by each parent
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • The quality of life each parent can provide the child
  • Any deliberate action by one or both parents used as a tool to prevent the other parent visitation time with his or her child

Based on the court and the judge, not every above action or scenario might be enough to justify a modification or change to the original court order. Sometimes, a combination of two or more conditions will provide sufficient evidence to the judge and the court to grant a modification or change to the order.

The process of obtaining a change or modification to an original court order can be challenging at best, and usually one that requires the skills of a competent attorney in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland. With the proper plan of attack, in developing strong evidence for a hearing, a skilled attorney can help the court to evaluate the best interest of the child to increase the potential of a successful outcome.

There are various types of child custody that are established in every state in the union. Not comprehending the difference between each one can often mislead you and maneuver you into agreeing to a custody settlement that you might potentially regret later on, or for years to come.

The major components of child custody revolve on “physical custody” and “legal custody.” The basic differences include:

  • Physical Custody – According to the legal system, physical custody makes reference to the actual location of where your child sleeps, eats and lives out their daily life.
  • Legal Custody – The court system refers to legal custody as the person that is in charge of making important decisions for the child including educational decisions, living arrangements, medical decisions, and the location of the child’s residence.

When both legal and physical custody are combined, the court system then determines the traditional types of child custody that could be ordered. The ultimate decision could be a court order based on sole custody, joint legal, joint physical, or a combination of child custody. The legal basis of each type of custody is unique. They include:

  • Sole Custody – Court ordered sole custody is sometimes called “full custody.” Sole custody provides both the physical and legal responsibility to one parent only, while allowing the other just visitation rights. In most cases, the parent that has sole custody will have 90% responsibility of their child. They will be responsible for all decisions made concerning his or her child, along with having the final say in regards to everything. The parent without sole custody will have visitation rights only, usually on weekends, or as scheduled by the court. They will have no say in making decisions on the upbringing of his or her child.
  • Joint Legal Custody – Just like it sounds, joint legal custody allows both parents an equal amount of responsibility in making decisions for the child, based on their needs including medical, educational and where the child will live. Whenever there are major disputes in the decision-making process, the judge has the final say. Traditionally, a court will likely take the side of the parent that has primary physical custody. This action by the court usually deems the practice of joint legal custody meaningless.
  • Joint Physical Custody – Courts can order joint physical custody by naming a single parent, or both parents, the primary custodian. However, primary custody usually follows the child to their main residence. Typically, the court will order a division of custody to 50-50, or allow the child to switch residences every few weeks.
  • Combinations of Child Custody – At times, the judge will issue a combination of child custody orders that include joint legal (but with sole physical), or joint physical (but with only sole legal).

When handling custody cases, it is imperative to use the legal services of a competent attorney in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland. Sometimes, families can be misled when the court orders “temporary custody”. Without proper guidance, families can quickly realize that temporary custody almost always turns into a permanent solution.

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