Child custody can be a sensitive topic for many people. When the parents of a child cannot agree to a mutual custody agreement, this could cause a number of problems. Fortunately, the parents may be able to seek the aid of a Maryland court to assist with their child custody dispute. If you and the parent of your child cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, you should consult with an experienced Maryland child custody attorney as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice knows the challenges that parents face when trying to negotiate a custody arrangement that is fair for everyone, and we are here to offer you the legal services you need to resolve your custody matter. The committed family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice have extensive knowledge of Maryland child custody laws. We would be pleased to use this knowledge for your benefit. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your case, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291. You may also contact the firm online to schedule your free case evaluation.
Types of Child Custody Available in Maryland
Maryland law considers the parents of a minor child as “joint natural guardians.” This distinction means that both parents must play a role in supporting the child and providing them with necessities such as education, healthcare, and housing. However, if the parents of a child decide to divorce or the parents were never married, the parents could one day end up arguing over child custody of one or more children.
Unless the parents mutually consent to a child custody arrangement, a Maryland court will have to step in and decide whether one parent will have sole custody or whether both parents will have joint custody. Note, however, that the court has the authority to alter an informal agreement between parents if it suits the best interests of their child. Prior to the court’s determination of custody rights, neither parent can claim they have greater custody rights than the other.
There are two types of custody that a parent can be awarded from a Maryland court: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody allows a parent to make decisions concerning various aspects of a child’s life, such as education, religion, healthcare, and other issues that could impact the welfare of the child. Many parents fight for legal custody, as it can greatly affect a child’s future.
If a parent is awarded physical custody of their child, this means the child will reside in their home, and they will have the authority to make day-to-day decisions regarding the welfare of the child.
It is important to note that parents can share each type of child custody. For example, if the parents are awarded joint custody, they can make long-term decisions for the child and everyday decisions for the child. Alternatively, if only one parent is given sole physical and legal custody of a child, the other parent is likely to be awarded visitation rights unless extreme circumstances may prevent it.
The type of custody a parent receives largely depends on the circumstances of each case. If you wish to know more about what a court will consider during a custody hearing, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Maryland custody lawyer that can help you fight for custody of your child.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Maryland?
If you and the parent of your minor child cannot come to an agreement regarding the custody of your child, it would be wise to take your case before a family court judge. As mentioned, when deciding custody matters between parents, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child.
It is important to note that a court will consider different factors depending on whether it will issue sole custody or joint custody to a parent. If a parent requests to be awarded sole custody of their child, the court will examine the following factors:
- The suitability of the parent to possess sole custody
- The character and reputation of each parent
- Whether the parents have made any prior agreements regarding child custody
- Whether a spouse has committed or allegedly committed abuse against the child or the parent
- The personal preference of the child if they are old enough to communicate their interest
If a parent requests joint custody of their child, there are other factors the court may consider:
- The distance between the homes of each parent
- The employment schedule of each parent
- The number of children shared and their ages
- Whether frequent transfers will disrupt the life of the child
- The financial status of each parent
This is not an exhaustive list. If you are concerned about whether you will receive custody of your child, you should waste no time speaking with an experienced family law attorney.
Consult with Our Committed Maryland Child Custody Lawyer Today
If you need legal assistance in order to handle a child custody dispute in Maryland, you should work with a committed Maryland child custody lawyer today. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice has provided many residents of Maryland and other states with legal representation that is tailored to their needs, and our Maryland family law attorneys welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how we can handle your custody dispute case. To schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your potential claim, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291. Our legal team is also available for contact online.