Securing full custody over a child in Maryland throughout the course of divorce requires that you fulfill a standard set by Maryland legislation called ‘The Child’s Best Interest.’ This requires that you establish yourself as the de facto parent of the child in terms of competency and commitment, relative to the second party.
When addressing the types of custody available, two options appear: legal and physical. Physical custody refers to with whom the child will reside, and who will make decisions regarding the child’s daily needs. On the other hand, legal custody governs the long-term decisions made regarding the child’s future such as their education, religious training, discipline, and non-emergency medical care. Full guardianship constitutes both sole physical guardianship and sole legal guardianship.
Generally, the court in Maryland considers the most favorable outcome to be that where both parents are involved in the child’s life, and this may usually require joint guardianship in either one, or both legal and physical guardianship. It is only under certain circumstances where a parent’s right to any form of guardianship, involvement, or future petitioning is absolutely eliminated, and that is when the parent has committed either a sexual offence in which the minor was the victim, or an act of violence that intentionally placed the minor in critical danger.
The first predominant factor that may signify a winning custody deal in Maryland is if you are the established primary caretaker. Very little presumptive bias is involved in guardianship cases; however, primary caretakers (the party responsible for directly caring for and treating the child) are given priority and favor. If otherwise, then gaining full guardianship will require greater evidence.
Using any precedents that undermine the fitness of the opposing partner as a qualified parent can be helpful. This may include any past felonies, misdemeanors, violence, cases of demonstrated negligence, or even poor psychological or physical health. Such characteristics and incidents can definitely sway a Court.
The Court in Maryland will also take into account factors regarding each parent’s financial and personal status. To demonstrate efficacy at supporting a child, it is necessary to have a healthy reputation, proper physical and psychological fitness, good character, and corroborative financial status sufficient (and preferably superior to that of the opposing party) to support a child. Testimony, custodial evaluations, professional assessments and observations, and documents/statements may be offered to prove the aforementioned.
Once you establish relative competency, it is necessary to show a willingness to facilitate a relationship between the child and the second party in the case you win full custody. By doing so, the court may feel greater leniency in offering you a more generous custodial status. This must be demonstrated throughout and after the trial through well-documented visitations, regular parental involvement, and a willingness to keep the parent-child contact healthy.
Finally, there are numerous coincidental factors over which you should have no control, such as your living circumstances, your proximity to the minor’s established residence, the minor’s personal preference, the closeness of relatives, your employment stability, and whether you’re remarried (or intend to).
Custody settlements are generally established to accommodate a standard called ‘the Child’s Best Interest.’ If, at a certain point of time, a parent tries to contest the custody agreement with a petition, then custody settlement may change. The malleability of a custody agreement depends on which parent is more qualified to take care of the child, and so if reasonable evidence is presented proving the other party’s superior conditions, then custody might have to be negotiated. C