Written by attorney Nichole Patterson

Relocating with an Open Custody Case

If a parent's relocation plan will significantly interfere with a current custody order, that parent risks being held in contempt of court if they relocate without court approval. Generally, in order to relocate with a child who is subject to a current custody order requires modifying the current order. Currently, in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, a child custody order can be modified if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances where modifying the current custody order would be in the best interests of the child. Washington, D.C. has statutory enumerated factors to decide new custody cases and modification of existing child custody cases. Very recently, Washington D.C. has issued a new opinion that weighs additional relocation-specific factors including the effect of the proposed relocation, the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed relocation, the feasibility of the objecting parent's own relocation concurrent with that of the relocating parent and the effect the move will have on the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent.

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