When filing for child custody in the state of Maryland, it is always to be familiar with different statute and rules regarding a parent’s child custody case. A child custody case can be complex due to reasons such unmarried parents, adopted children, relocation, history of abuse and neglect and other similar factors. Nevertheless, even if both the parents have agreed on the custodial obligation, it is recommended that a parent consult an experienced lawyer to help him or her during the court hearing. The five things that a parent should always be aware of are the following:
1. Who is eligible to file for custody
Typically, Maryland courts grants guardianship to the biological parents or foster parents of the minor. However, a close relative, such as an aunt or a grandfather is qualified to be awarded custody if a petition is filed with the court of Maryland. These circumstances may arise if the parents are seemed unfit and incapable to be the legal caretakers of the minor and to take care of the juvenile’s well being, in such situations a relative or a third is qualified to be awarded custody over the minor. In cases where one of the caretakers is not the biological caretaker of the minor, the non-biological caretaker may adopt the minor so that the caretaker would be the legal caretaker of the minor. These types of cases may be required to be discussed with a lawyer.
2. The different types of custody
Legal care and physical care are the two main types of guardianship. Parents who have legal guardianship are legally authorized to take long-term decisions of the juvenile’s life, such as the juvenile’s schooling, religious matter, and medical care. Parents who have physical custody have their minor residing with him or her and takes the daily decisions regarding the minor.
Parents can have:
- Sole care, where one caretaker is granted to one guardian, usually if the other caretaker is deemed unfit.
- Joint care, both caretakers have equal amount of time with their child and share the decision making regarding their child’s life.
- Split care, where each caretakers gains care of a child when the guardians have more than one child.
3. What custody decides
In Maryland, guardians are able to come up with their own agreement, but if the guardians are unable to settle on mutual agreement, a court hearing is scheduled and a judge decides care. The decisions that a judge can make include the following:
- The part of each guardians new spouse in the child’s upbringing.
- The visitation schedule for the non-custodial guardian.
- Juvenile support payments.
- The division of parental duties.
4. The best interest of the child
The court always decides guardianship based on the needs of the minor and not on the desires of the guardians. These may include, the mental and physical state of both guardians and minor, financial stability, and the guardians personality.
5. Custody orders are not permanent
The circumstances may change later on in the child’s life, for instance, one of the guardians may be incarcerated, or the other guardian may be well off financially. In these cases the order may be altered and the guardianship of the child may be given to the other guardian.
If you need a Maryland minor guardianship lawyer to help you with your minor guardianship case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland child custody attorneys can help you. A