In Maryland, a party can only seek a modification of custody if there is a material change in circumstances.
There are a number of cases that give an idea as to what a material change is. Generally speaking it is one or a combination of the following: a significant change that occurred since the entry of the initial order; something material that was unknown at the time the initial order was passed has since come to light; and/or something since the entry of the Order is adversely impacting or could adversely impact the welfare of the child(ren). One circumstance that has been ruled a material change in Maryland is the relocation of a parent. Braun v. Headley, 131 Md. App. 588 (2000). When facing relocation of a parent, the court may consider such factors as a potential change in visitation schedule, child's school change, the moving parent's reason for the move, and the ability of the parents to both maintain a relationship with the child after the move when deciding whether or not the move will constitute a material change in circumstances. More often than not, a relocation of a parent is a material change in circumstance.
Assuming the parent seeking to modify the existing Order establishes a material change in circumstance and the Court so finds, the second prong of the two prong test is what is in the best interest of the minor child(ren). In deciding what is in the best interest of the child(ren) the court considers a host of factors. Some of those factors include the fitness of the parents, the desires and agreements of the parents, the potential to maintain family relationships, the child's preference if he or she is at a sufficient age, opportunities affecting the child, the age and health of the child, and the residence of the parents and opportunity for visitation. Montgomery County v. Sanders, 38 Md. App. 406 (1997). It is important to keep in mind that even with a finding of a material change in circumstance, a modification of the custody order still must be determined by the court to be in the child(ren)'s best interest.
Also, you can file a contempt motion any time the other party violates a term or terms of the court's order.
This is determined on a case by case basis and there must be an examination by a medical professional to establish physical or mental fitness if it is in question.
There is no list of illnesses that qualify - any illness a medical professional testifies about can be considered.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).