A decision by a parent to relocate a child’s or parent’s residence can trigger alarm bells for the other parent. This frequently triggers a rush to court.
However, an experienced Maryland custody lawyer knows that the backlog in the Courts can work against efforts to gain judicial relief. Legislation enacted in the 2009 legislative session improves the non moving parent’s opportunity to respond.
“ In custody or visitation disputes that involve a change of residence, getting into court as quickly as possible is critical.
Senate Bill 299, effective October 1, 2009, authorizes the court, in any custody or visitation proceeding to include as a condition of custody or visitation that a parent provide notice of at least 90 days of the intent to relocate the permanent residence of the party or the child. This notice can be required for relocation either within or outside the state.
The previous law allowed a notice period of 45 days. However the new legislation goes one step further. It provides that if either parent files a petition regarding a proposed relocation within 20 days of the written notice of relocation, the court shall set in a hearing on the petition on an expedited basis. It is critical to note that the petition must be filed within 20 days to warrant expedited treatment.
There is frequently wisdom in the adage “justice delayed is justice denied.” In custody or visitation disputes that involve a change of residence, getting into court as quickly as possible may be critical. As a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Howard and Montgomery Counties, I am delighted to see that my former colleagues were astute enough to give these types of cases a scheduling priority. Depending on the facts, this can prove to benefit either the parent who plans to relocate or the parent responding to the move. However, it is most likely that the opportunity for judicial scrutiny will benefit the children at the center of these disputes.