The dissolution of a relationship is extremely difficult, both physically and mentally.
Along with coming to terms that the life you lead with the former person of your dreams is over, you also have to deal with the legal issues of child custody. If you live in Anne Arundel County and you need legal help our child custody lawyers can make a big difference in your case.
Any time a relationship ends there are important decisions to be made, but there’s an issue that is even more important and stressful than all others: who will gain custody over a child.
As a parent, you want what is best for your child, but deep down you probably also want to spend as much time with her as possible. Determining who will gain custody over a child is often the most challenging aspect of separation for most families, but knowing how a decision is made may help you feel better about the situation.
- Types of Custody in Maryland
- What Parents Need to Know: The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody of Children in Maryland
- An Attorney Can Help
- Child Custody Frequently Asked Question
Types of Custody in Maryland
In a perfect world, you and your ex would reach an agreement together about custody and both come out happy. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, particularly when one of the parties is bitter about the separation.
When you can’t come to a mutual agreement, the court will make the decision for you. In Maryland, all custody situations have two components: legal custody and physical custody.
The parent who has legal custody is responsible for making long-term plans and decisions regarding education, religious training, non-emergency health care, and other matters of significance regarding the child’s welfare.
Physical custody pertains to whom the child spends time with, and who can make decisions for her regarding everyday matters.
A variety of custody types occur in Maryland, including:
- Sole custody. A person may be granted sole custody of a child, meaning the child primarily lives with and spends time with that parent or that parent makes legal decisions on their own. The parent could have sole legal or sole physical custody, or both.
- Joint custody. Joint custody occurs when both parents take responsibility for the children, and is broken down into three categories: joint legal, shared physical, and combination.
Primary Physical Custody
If you believe that your child would benefit greatly by only living with you, or that the other parent is unfit to take care of her, you will likely petition the court to receive sole physical custody. Although you may think yours is the only acceptable decision, the court may not. The judge will look at many different factors when determining if living with just one parent is the appropriate choice.
Some of these factors may include:
- The characters, fitness, and reputation of each parent.
- The preference of the child.
- The potentiality of maintaining family relationships.
- The health, gender, and age of the child.
- Any material opportunities affecting the future of the child.
- The suitability of the residences.
- How long the child has been away from the parent seeking custody.
- The “best interests” of the child.
Joint Custody and Shared Custody
When both of the parents want to have active parts in the child’s life, they will likely ask the court for joint custody. In joint custody, the child goes back and forth between each parent’s home, and each have the responsibility of making decisions for the child. The three different types of joint custody are:
- Joint legal custody. This type of custody occurs when both parents share the responsibility to care and control the upbringing of the child, even if the child only has one primary residence. One parent may be granted “tie-breaking” authority, or the final word in a decision, when the parents can’t agree on a matter.
- Shared physical custody. Shared physical custody occurs when the child resides at the homes of both parents, spending at least 25 percent of the time with one parent, or 92 overnights per year.
When determining if joint custody is a good choice for the child, the judge will look at:
- The psychological and physical fitness of each parent.
- The strength of the relationship between the child and each parent.
- The age and number of children involved.
- The demands of parental employment.
- Geographic proximity of the parents’ homes.
- Financial status and benefits of each parent.
- The impact on state or federal assistance.
- The sincerity or motivation of each parent in their requests.
- Willingness of each parent to share custody.
What Separating Parents Need to Know: The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody of Children in Maryland
It’s bad enough when your partner tells you he or she wants to end the relationship, but when the children come into play, things can seem even worse. You’ve built a life with someone who you thought would be your partner forever, and then you brought children into the scenario. Now it seems like the world you helped to create is crumbling down all around you.
Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of a separation has to do with the children. They often don’t understand why their parents can’t be together anymore, and sometimes they believe it is their faults. Deciding who the children live with is often heart-wrenching, but knowing how custody is determined may help you feel better about the situation.
An Attorney Can Help
The easiest way to determine child custody arrangements, attempt to obtain custody of your child, figure out child support, and simply deal with all of these new developments in your life, is to obtain the help of a family attorney.
Contact Our Maryland Child Custody Lawyers Today
With separation and custody matters comes a variety of emotions, questions, and concerns. Navigating through these waters is often extremely difficult. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
The attorneys of Jimeno & Gray, P.A., have the experience you need for a legal battle with ex-family members. Our custody attorneys have the experience, knowledge and dedication that it takes in a child custody battle. We empathize with all who are going through these difficult battles and we look to stand by your side.
How can the Court change custody in my case after the Court passed an Order?
Answer: Even if the Court has already issued a final order in a custody case, the Court always maintains jurisdiction over the children to modify its own Order. But, for the Court to take another look a child’s situation, a parent must allege that something significant has changed in the child’s life or one of the parent’s lives. The purpose of the requirement that something substantial change before a Court will re-examine a custody or visitation Order is to prevent parents from asking the Court to revisit their cases just because they do not like the original outcome.
Taking control of your situation shouldn’t be overwhelming
We make the legal process as simple as possible for you. Here’s how to get started:
1. Schedule a Call
Speak with an experienced member of our legal team. We’ll take the time to listen and understand your situation.
2. Develop a Plan
We create a customized legal strategy that meets your specific needs and helps you get the outcome you deserve.
3. Get Results
We get results so you take control of your future by achieving the best possible results for your legal matter.