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The psychological impact of relocation on a child

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Child Custody |

Post-divorce life often entails significant life changes. The promise of a fresh start can motivate a custodial parent to move to another location to accept a job offer for financial stability or live closer to their relatives for emotional support in their healing journey.

While a parent may have valid reasons to contemplate a relocation, they must also remember that their decision can profoundly affect their child’s psychological well-being. Before requesting to modify existing child custody arrangements, it can help to look at specific considerations that can set them up for a successful move.

A relocation may have adverse effects on the child

In Maryland, a parent seeking to relocate with their child must notify the other parent at least 90 days before their intended move. The other party may object to the plan within the allowable period.

In disputed cases, the court weighs an extensive range of factors before deciding. So, before filing their request, a relocating parent can use the following factors to check how their plan can influence their child’s well-being. Conversely, the other parent can also use the list to challenge a petition.

  • The child may find it difficult to adjust to a new environment at such a young age. Leaving the familiarity of friends, school and neighborhood can take a toll on their sense of security.
  • The child may feel lost when attending school, especially with new faces and systems. Their grades may suffer and they may choose not to participate in extracurricular activities.
  • The child may display temper issues as a way of rebelling against the multiple changes unfolding around them. They may also develop long-term behavioral problems, which may manifest during adulthood.

Each child copes with their parents’ co-parenting situation, which can involve moving to a new residence, differently. Some kids mature quickly and learn to process their responses independently. On the other hand, there are those who struggle to adapt to the new family dynamics.

The child’s best interests must always come first

A child’s best interests must remain the driving force behind every parent’s decision. However, sometimes, it is hard to strike a balance between their needs and those of their children. With so much at stake, parents cannot afford to face the process alone. Their legal team can provide guidance and support during these trying times.