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What Are My Rights As A Father/Mother In A Divorce Or Child Custody Case in Maryland?

Going through a divorce or child custody case can be emotionally taxing and complex, especially when it comes to understanding your rights as a parent. At Jimeno & Gray, P.A., in Glen Burnie, Maryland, we believe in making legal guidance accessible and straightforward for our clients. This post aims to shed light on your parental rights in the context of divorce and child custody in Maryland, helping you overcome these challenging times with confidence.

Your Right to Custody and Visitation in Maryland

One of the primary concerns for parents undergoing a divorce is the custody arrangement for their children. Maryland law emphasizes the child’s best interests when determining physical and legal custody. This means that the court looks at a multitude of factors to ensure that the final custody arrangement serves the welfare and happiness of the child above all else.

  • Physical Custody: Relates to where the child lives. It can be sole, where the child lives with one parent most of the time and typically visits the other, or joint, where the child splits time more evenly between both parents’ homes. The arrangement considers the child’s routine, schooling, and community ties.
  • Legal Custody: Involves decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training. This custody type can also be sole or joint. Sole legal custody means one parent can make significant decisions for the child without needing the other parent’s consent. In contrast, joint legal custody requires both parents to communicate and make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing.

As a parent, you can seek either or both types of custody. The courts encourage parents to work out a parenting plan that serves the child’s best interests and reflects a cooperative approach to raising the child post-separation. In situations where parents cannot agree, the court will intervene and make a decision based on various factors, including but not limited to:

  • The preference of the child, if of sufficient age and capacity, to form a reasonable judgment.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • Evidence of any history of domestic violence or abuse.
  • The ability of the parents to communicate with each other and to share custody.
  • The willingness of each parent to share custody.
  • The relationship of the child with each parent.
  • The potential disruption of the child’s social and school life.
  • The geographic proximity of the parents’ homes.

Joint Custody Arrangements

In Maryland, joint custody is possible and even encouraged when it serves the child’s best interests. Joint custody can take many forms, depending on how the parents decide to split physical and legal responsibilities. These arrangements require parents to work closely together to ensure that their child’s needs are met, fostering a cooperative parenting relationship that benefits the child’s development and emotional well-being.

Decision-Making and Legal Custody Considerations

Legal custody grants you the right to make critical decisions in your child’s life. Understanding how Maryland courts make these determinations is crucial whether you’re aiming for sole or joint legal custody. Courts consider various factors, including each parent’s willingness to share custody and communicate on essential matters, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse. Engaging in open and cooperative communication with your co-parent can strengthen your position in seeking legal custody.

Child Support Rights and Responsibilities in Maryland

Both parents are obligated to support their children financially in Maryland. The court determines child support based on each parent’s income, the number of children, and other relevant factors, ensuring that the child maintains a standard of living similar to what they would have experienced if the family remained together. Whether you expect to receive or pay child support, it’s essential to understand how these amounts are calculated and your rights in this process.

Access to Records and Information

Regardless of the custody arrangement, non-custodial parents generally maintain the right to access their child’s educational and medical records. This right ensures that you can stay informed about your child’s well-being and progress, even if you do not have physical custody. It’s an essential aspect of parental rights that supports your ongoing involvement in your child’s life.

Modifications to Custody or Support Orders

Life circumstances change, and the courts recognize this. You have the right to request modifications to custody or child support orders if significant changes in circumstances occur. This could include a change in income, relocation, or the child’s needs. Such modifications ensure that custody arrangements and support orders remain fair and in the child’s best interests over time.

Protecting Your Rights in a Maryland Divorce

Understanding and going through your parental rights during a divorce or child custody case can be daunting. At Jimeno & Gray, P.A., we guide you through every step, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard. 

Contact us today at 410-590-9401 or online to schedule a consultation. Our team is committed to providing the support and guidance you need to confidently go through your divorce or child custody case, ensuring your parental rights are fully protected.

Meet Our Team

Attorney Greg Jimeno of MarylandAttorney Greg Jimeno of Maryland

Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire


Attorney Frank Gray of Maryland

Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.


Attorney Magaly Bittner of Maryland

Magaly Delisse Bittner, Esquire


Attorney Jessica H. McConnell, Esq.

Jessica McConnell, Esquire


Attorney Greg Jimeno of MarylandAttorney Greg Jimeno of Maryland

Alex Avioli-Bent


Attorney Jessica H. McConnell, Esq.

Erin Finn


Attorney Frank Gray of Maryland

Karen Nolasco


Attorney Magaly Bittner of Maryland

Robyn Youssef

Intake Specialist

Attorney Greg Jimeno of MarylandAttorney Greg Jimeno of Maryland

Lisa Eckstorm

Office Manager and Funding Coordinator