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Interstate custody disputes

Even if a divorced parent in Maryland thinks that a custody agreement can be worked out with their ex-spouse personally, it is importantto obtain a child custody order from a judge. If a parent's ex-spouse ever decides to move out of the state, the original child custody order will still be enforceable.

The so-called "Full Faith and Credit Law" is a federal law that was set up to create consistency in custody decisions when parents decide to move. Under the law, each state must honor the custody and visitation orders that were made by family courts in other states. The law applies to both permanent and temporary child custody and visitation orders as well as modifications to the original orders.

A parent can make sure that a child custody or visitation order qualifies for protection under the statute by obtaining a court order in the child's 'home state." In family law, the home state is the state where the child lived with one or both of their parents for six months or longer. If the child is an infant under six months old, the child's home state is where they lived since birth.

A court in another state usually cannot modify the original custody order that was made in a child's home state. If a parent's ex-spouse has moved to another state with the child and is attempting to modify the joint custody order, the parent may want to work with an attorney to enforce the original custody order. A parent may also be able to obtain a court order that prevents the other parent from moving out of state with the child.

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