Custody can be classified under two main categories: legal and physical custody.
Legal custody in Maryland covers all long-term decisions concerning the child such as non-emergency medical care, schooling, religious discipline, and long-term financing plans. Physical custody involves the child’s day to day live, and covers issues of residence and primary care. Note that parents awarded sole or joint physical custody are entitled to emergency medical decisions, which otherwise would not be within their ability.
I’m both cases, either sole or joint custody may be awarded to either types, or a combination of the two may be determined. While sole custody, under very specific circumstances where the child’s best interests exclusively lie with one of the parents, is a viable option, most Courts prefer awarding joint custodies in order to delegate and secure equal involvement by both parents.
Joint legal custody usually involves both parents agreeing on any long-term decisions to be made regarding the child, whether it be their education, their religious discipline, or any non-emergency medical care they will require. This requires a lot of cooperation between the two parents. In fact, Maryland Court states that the most important factor taken into account when considering joint legal custody is the ability of the parents to effectively communicate.
Joint legal custody in Maryland is not always awarded unilaterally as a whole but can sometimes partially divide. For instance, the mother can take charge of education, the father medical care, and both can have joint custody over religious discipline. Joint legal custody gas many advantages. Firstly, it encourages both parents to be involved in the child’s upbringing by increasing each’s level of engagement. It also encourages healthier decisions to be made since there are two decision makers involved. The increased involvement also increases either parties’ willingness to conduct support payment. Finally, having both parents involved in the decision-making process means issues such as education and traveling can include both parents. This may avoid possible disputes and sources of contention such as education far away from one of the parents, which would otherwise undermine their relationship with the child.
It is important to note that in joint legal custody in Maryland, communication, transparency, and cooperation are key. As great as the advantages are, there are numerous potential disadvantages if the two parties fail to agree. Any remnants of the divorce such as unresolved conflicts are bound to resurface with the continuous contact and exposure the two parents may be forced to endure. Additionally, these disputes can be perilous to the child’s psychological welfare. The greatest consequence, however, is if the disagreement reaches such a great extent as to inhibit any form of action from being taken. This indecisiveness is unequivocally bound to harm the child’s future prospects, sense of identity, and physical and emotional welfare.
Joint custody in Maryland — a default by the standards of numerous courts — can usually yield great and fruitful results, as it maximizes both parents’ contribution to raising the child. The efficacy of this process, however, is greatly governed by the diplomacy and civility of both parents, and demands a greater level of tolerance and communication than that of a sole custody agreement.
If you need a Maryland child custody lawyer to help you with your child custody case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland child custody attorneys can help you.