In the state of Maryland, child custody laws for unmarried parents are the same as the laws for married parents with underage children, the only difference is that in the case for unmarried parents, a paternal test must first be taken and presented so that it is proved that the father is biologically related to the child, to the court of Maryland before filing for juvenile guardianship. The mother of the child can also make an oath stating that he is indeed the minor’s father by blood.
Both the mother and the father of the minor have the same advantages and rights to be granted guardianship of their minor, unless proven wrong, for instance if one of the caretakers is deemed unfit to take care of the minor’s well being and safety, and hence the judge will grant sole guardianship to the other caretaker. The Maryland family court laws state that no parent is assumed to have a superior right to custody of a minor, all things being equal.
Nevertheless, there are factors that can affect the determination of child custody by the judge of the court of Maryland, these factors include the following:
- The child’s age.
- Each parent’s age.
- The physical and mental state of each guardian.
- The physical and mental state of the child.
- Any history of sexual or physical abuse, neglect, or abandonment of each guardian.
- The location of each parent’s residence.
The caretakers of the juvenile can come to an equal agreement about having joint physical custody and joint legal custody of their juvenile. This helps the kid’s mental state, reduces stress and can have both his or her caretakers involved in both the decision taking and have an equal residence with his or her guardians. However, it is not very frequent that both the caretakers come to a mutual agreement regarding their juvenile and the juvenile guardianship case must proceed to a court hearing before a judge. The judge will determine the custody of the juvenile based in the best interest of the juvenile, instead of the guardian’s emotional needs and desires.
Some of the factors affecting the best interest of the juvenile include the below mentioned features:
- Each parent’s physical, mental, and emotional capability to provide the juvenile’s needs and desires.
- The parent’s history of past child abuse or domestic violence.
- Past abandonment and neglect of other children.
- The financial status of each parent.
- The willingness of each parent to provide the child with frequent communication with the other parent.
- The ability of the guardians to work together.
- The ability of each guardian to sustain a healthy family relationship.
Typically, the court of the state of Maryland grants the guardians with joint custody of the child, if it is proven that it is in the best interest of the child. However, there are still situations where the court awards one guardian with more custody right than the other guardian. It is best recommended that the guardians get advice from a skillful lawyer to weight out the possibility of custody and insure that both the parents get an equal share of custody over their child.
If you need a Maryland juvenile guardianship lawyer to help you with your juvenile guardianship case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland child custody attorneys can help you.