If you are divorcing with children, one thing you and your spouse will need to decide on is child custody. If you and your spouse cannot agree, then the court will make a decision, and it may not be what you want.
Child custody can be a complex topic, as each state has its own laws. Here’s what you need to know about child custody laws in Maryland.
There Are Two Main Types of Custody
When it comes to child custody, there is physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to decision-making authority regarding education, medical needs, religion, and other important aspects of the child’s life. Typically, a parent with physical custody also has legal custody, but a parent with legal custody does not necessarily have physical custody.
The Best Interests of the Child Apply
When it comes to custody, the law does not favor the mother or the father. The courts try to agree on joint custody, but in the end, it depends on the best interests of the child. This includes factors such as the child’s age, health, and gender, as well as the parent’s health, finances, reputation, and character. Also, which parent is the primary caregiver and the ability to maintain family relationships are also factors. The child’s preference will also be heard.
You, Will, Need a Parenting Plan
If a minor child is involved, the court will require the parties to submit a parenting plan. This is a written document that outlines how the parties will raise the child. It determines how the parties will handle child-related issues and allows the parents, not the court, to make decisions. The parents will receive parenting plan instructions and documents at their first court hearing.
Child Custody Decisions Are Not Permanent
Child custody decisions are never permanent, even with a final divorce decree. Situations can change, and a parent can always request to modify a court order. For example, relocation, neglect, abuse, incarceration, and other issues that affect a party’s ability to parent or a child’s quality of life may necessitate a modification.
If the Parents Were Never Married, Paternity Must Be Established
If the parties were never married, the only certain parentage is that the woman is the mother. It cannot be automatically assumed that the man is the father. In order to gain custody rights, paternity must be established. In lieu of marriage, this can be established by a court determination, acknowledgment in writing, or by telling people that the child is his.
Contact Our Child Custody Lawyers in Rockville Today
There’s a lot you need to know about child custody in Maryland. Sometimes these cases can go to court if you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement, so make sure you’re prepared.
The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado has child custody lawyers in Rockville who can help you understand the state’s laws and provide you with supportive legal counsel to help you secure the most favorable outcome. Schedule a consultation with us today by calling (301) 340-1911.