In a divorce where a child or children are involved, both spouses have an equal chance of gaining custody as the law in Maryland doesn’t favour a certain parent over another but rather looks at the best interest of the child. Courts judgments of child custody and visitation agreements are not permanent. A parent can always petition to modify this agreement. If the parents cannot come to an agreement over minor guardianship, then either parent may petition a circuit court in Maryland to make the decision for them.
There are many types of custody’s the court can order. These include:
- Temporary custody- temporary care is not the final awarded custody; it depends on the juvenile’s best interests. The parent granted temporary minor guardianship gets full care of the minor during the waiting period between filing for a divorce and for the court to come to a verdict on who is awarded minor guardianship.
- Legal and physical custody- the court may order legal and physical care. Legal care refers to the guardian being able to make long-term decisions regarding the juvenile’s welfare. Such as education, religion, and non-emergency medical care. Physical care involves making decisions about the minor’s everyday life and spending time with the minor.
- Sole custody- either guardian may be granted sole legal care, sole physical care or both.
- Split custody- if 2 or more children are involved the court may split the guardianship and grant sole guardianship of one child to each guardian.
- Joint custody- the court may grant joint legal care, shared physical care or a combination of both. Joint legal care is when both guardians have a say in long-term decisions regarding the juvenile’s welfare. Shared physical care is when the child resides with both caretakers at different times.
- Any disability to either caretaker is only considered important if it affects the best interests of the child.
In order for the court to hear a case it must have both personal and subject matter jurisdiction. A guardianship case may be filed in Maryland if the child lives in Maryland and it is the home state of the child and if the parent works, votes, lives and pays taxes in the state. If the child is not in Maryland at the time of the case then he or she must have resided in Maryland within the last six months or one parent must currently live in Maryland. A guardianship case may also be filed in Maryland if the child is physically present in the state and was abandoned or if the child was a subject of abuse.
When choosing who will get custody of the child, the court will look at many factors. These include:
- Who is the primary caregiver.
- The mental and physical state of each parent.
- Whether or not there is a custody agreement.
- Which spouse has the greater ability to maintain family relationships.
- Depending on the juvenile’s age and maturity the court will also take into consideration the juvenile’s preference.
- Religious views.
- Each parents financial situation.
- Any prior abandonment.
Parents can also agree on joint legal and physical custody. The most important factors to joint physical and legal custody include the ability for the parents to come to an agreement, juvenile’s relationship with each parent, juvenile’s preference, age and number or children and each parent’s employee consideration such as long working hours or traveling.
If you need a Maryland Divorce Lawyer to help you with your divorce case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland divorce attorneys can help you.