I’m moving into a nicer home that is closer to my children’s school district, who primarily live with their mother.
Is my relocation to a more desirable environment for my children enough to warrant a child custody modification?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Maryland divorce and child custody laws where I am licensed to practice.
In order to request a modification in custody, a party must first meet the burden of establishing a material change in circumstances affecting the children’s welfare. What constitutes a material change in circumstances has not been exactly defined by my state’s child custody laws.
However, based on case law, a material change in circumstance may be an incident which adversely affects the welfare of the children since the original child custody order was entered or a material fact that was unknown at the time of the custody order but is now apparent. A situation that may be considered a material change in circumstance is the relocation of a parent.
It is important to note that the court places an emphasis on the importance of the children’s need for continuity. Therefore, if the children are doing well in the original custodial environment, then the custody arrangement will not ordinarily be changed and the court is likely to maintain the status quo.
If the court finds that a material change in circumstances has occurred, it will then look to determine whether the proposed modification to the original child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children.
The court may consider certain factors when determining whether the change is in the children’s best interest. These factors include the age and health of the children, the fitness of the parents, the desires and agreements of the parents, opportunities affecting the child, the potential to maintain family relationships, and the residence of the parents and opportunity for visitation.
Ultimately, if there is in fact a material change in circumstances, the best interest of the children will determine whether the court will award a modification of child custody.
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Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Maryland Divorce Lawyer Jeff J. Kim, please contact Cordell & Cordell.