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 child custody, 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 custody is not the final awarded custody; it depends on the child’s best interests. The parent granted temporary child custody gets full custody of the child during the waiting period between filing for a divorce and for the court to come to a verdict on who is awarded child custody.
- Legal and physical custody- the court may order legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent being able to make long-term decisions regarding the child’s welfare. Such as education, religion, and non-emergency medical care. Physical custody involves making decisions about the child’s everyday life and spending time with the child.
- Sole custody- either parent may be granted sole legal custody, sole physical custody or both.
- Split custody- if 2 or more children are involved the court may split the custody and grant sole custody of one child to each parent.
- Joint custody- the court may grant joint legal custody, shared physical custody or a combination of both. Joint legal custody is when both parents have a say in long-term decisions regarding the child’s welfare. Shared physical custody is when the child resides with both parents at different times.
- Any disability to either parent 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 custody 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 custody 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 child’s age and maturity the court will also take into consideration the child’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, child’s relationship with each parent, child’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.