When a marriage or relationship is over, untangling two lives can be a difficult and emotional process. When a child is involved, the situation becomes more complex.
A child custody battle can be frustrating and highly stressful for those involved. If you are facing a child custody battle in Maryland, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how the court handles child custody issues.
Child custody laws vary from state to state. In Maryland, the family court system follows the “best interests of the child” standard.
Here’s your guide to Maryland child custody laws.
Maryland Child Custody Laws
In Maryland, the court seeks to put the child’s needs first, above the interests or wishes of the parents. Maryland judges have a great deal of discretion in making child custody decisions.
The judge will consider each parent’s preferences as well as any agreements the parents have reached on their own. Important factors include each parent’s character, reputation, and financial stability. Other factors the judge may consider include:
- The age of the child
- The child’s wishes
- The child’s current relationship with parents
- Any history of neglect or abuse
- Where each parent resides
- Each parent’s ability to foster a positive relationship with the child
- Each parent’s willingness to make decisions regarding the child’s wellbeing
- Whether either parent has voluntarily abandoned the child
If you are facing a child custody dispute in Maryland, you can’t do it alone. Seek the help of an experienced child custody attorney who can help you receive a favorable custody arrangement.
Custody and Visitation Options
The Maryland Family Court system prefers custody arrangements that provide children with continuity and stability. Depending on the age of the child or children, the judge may allow them to state their preference for which parent they want to live with.
In most situations, the judge will consider both physical custody and legal custody of the child or children. Physical custody relates to where and with whom the child or children will reside. Legal custody relates to who will make important decisions about the child’s education, medical care, and overall wellbeing.
There are many variations for child custody arrangements, and the judge will consider your specific case to determine what is in the best interests of your child or children.
Joint Custody in Maryland
Generally, children do best when both parents actively participate in their upbringing. In many cases, the judge will consider awarding joint custody of the child or children to the parents involved.
The judge will consider many factors when considering this type of custody arrangement. These include each parent’s ability to communicate and interact with one another and how their communication methods affect their child or children.
Some other factors the judge may consider include:
- The parents’ relationship
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to communicate with the other
- Each parent’s desire and ability to foster a positive, healthy relationship with their child or children
- Each parent’s willingness to follow and adhere to the custody arrangement
Why Do I Need a Child Custody Attorney?
If you are in a child custody dispute, your best first step is to contact a qualified child custody attorney. Your attorney can help you understand Maryland child custody laws, guide you through the legal process, and advocate on your behalf.
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