When Your Ex Takes the Kids Out of State
It’s a common situation: parents breakup and one of them leaves Maryland with the children. Depending on the circumstances, this can be a terrifying situation for the parent who remains in the state. After all, will Maryland law protect your right to see your kids? Will you be able to see your kids, or will you have to travel thousands of miles to see them?
These questions and more are just examples of the concerns that parents can have when the other parent removes children from Maryland. Fortunately, the law does protect divorced and separated parents in these situations. Trust an experienced Maryland divorce and custody lawyer to help you fight for your right to see your kids.
Maryland Law Looks Out for the Best Interests of Children
If you’ve been through a divorce or painful custody battle, then you’ve likely heard the term “Best Interests of the Child.” But what exactly does this mean?
Under Maryland law, the court can consider a host of things in determining what is best for a child:
- The child’s primary caregiver
- The relative fitness of each parent
- Character and reputation of each parent
- Written agreements or custody orders
- The ability of the child to maintain existing family relationships
- Child’s own choice (usually only if the child is about 7 or older)
- Monetary ability of each parent to provide for the child
- Age, health, and gender of the child
- Where the parents each live
- Access to extended family and friends
- Which parent lives closest to the child’s existing social network (school, playmates, etc.)
- How long each parent has been separated from the child
- Any evidence of previous abandonment or custody surrender
- Disability or special needs of the child or either parent
- Established religious views of parents or children
As you can probably tell, the court has very broad power to consider just about anything that may weigh into what is best for a child.
Courts Generally Do Not Like to Uproot Children
In general, the court will not want a small child to be uprooted from his or her community, friends, extended family, and school. In most cases, the courts consider stability to be paramount. Therefore, if one parent is seeking to remove the child from the state, that parent will have the burden of showing that this is somehow better for the child than allowing the child to remain in state.
As with anything in the law, it will all depend on the facts. Were you and the other parent married and a court ordered custody? Are you in the middle of a separation? Was there a court order telling the other parent not to remove the child? Who has custody?
Fighting for the Right to See Your Child
If your spouse has taken your child out of state and is refusing to let you see the child, you need to take immediate and swift action. If there is an existing custody agreement, you should bring this to a lawyer and be prepared to fight for the right to see your child. Call or stop by the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. to discuss your options.