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Modifying Your Parenting Plan in Maryland

In Maryland, a parenting plan, sometimes referred to as a custody decree, custody order, visitation schedule or residential schedule, is a court order specifying with whom and where your child will live. If you’re seeking to modify that plan for any reason, you must petition the court to modify any custody and visitation orders. The reasons for the change must meet the criteria for “significant” or “material change in circumstances” and that it “fundamentally affects the best interest of the child.” 

“Material change in circumstances” may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • A parental relocation to another city, state or country
  • A change in one parent’s income level
  • A substantial change in the child’s needs
  • Evidence that children are currently living in an arrangement that puts them in emotional or physical danger
  • Proof that the custodial parent is refusing visitation for the noncustodial parent

In the case of refusing visitation, the judge may, apart from modifying the custody order and visitation rights, take into consideration makeup for missed visitations, order counseling, mediation, or some other remedy that could best be employed for parental compliance.

When considering a change in the final custody order, Maryland Family Court puts significant weight on the stability of the original orders against the new, but bear in mind that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how the court decides what is in the best interest of the child.  Maryland Family Law draws from Maryland case law, court rules, and the Maryland Code, and the Courts often refer to all three when considering the child’s best interest, so it is important to have proper representation when it comes to modifying your parenting plan, however minor or major those changes are.

If you would like to learn more about modifying parenting plans in Maryland, consult with a skilled family law attorney.

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