CHILD CUSTODY IN MARYLAND
If you have children... This information is for you.
There are two types of child custody in Maryland which deal with different aspects of parenting rights. Physical or residential custody refers to who the child primarily lives with. Thus, if someone has residential custody, the child lives with them the majority of the time and visits the other parent.
Most commonly, visitation is going to be every other weekend, sometimes dinner once a week, 2 or 3 weeks each summer, and dividing holidays and birthdays. Many people want child custody to be "shared." a scenario where one parent has primary custody and the other has visits is not shared. Shared physical custody implies equally dividing where the child lives, as in one week with dad then one with mom.
The courts almost never agree to this, as it is very difficult on the child. The only exception would be if both parents live so close together that they are in the same school district such that the child would be in the same school based on the parents' addresses, AND both parents agree to equally dividing custody. If you want this to happen, it is most times unrealistic, and at best very difficult to achieve.
The other kind of custody in Maryland is legal custody. This refers to decision making on issues like education religion and health matters. It Is common to have joint legal custody, which means only that both parents will jointly make these kind of decisions, but again does not mean where the child lives will be joint or split. It is often advisable to have one parent have in effect a tie breaker authority, unless disagreements cause a standstill in any major decision.
Typically, courts will do this, but whenever the parent who doesn’t have the tie breaker disagrees with the decision, they still could file in court and ask that the decision be reversed or overruled by the judge. Another way to handle this issue to give legal custody to one parent and require that parent to consult the other parent prior to decisions.
Whether you have a contested or an uncontested case, you need help to make sure you understand the process and what you are entitled to, and get all the results you want. In a consultation with us, we will assess your situation, help you determine your goals regarding custody and visitation, what to do with a family home, and more, and tell you how best to achieve those goals, including the possibility of reaching an agreement, or how best to fight for what you want if we have to.
For help from an experienced divorce attorney, please contact our office for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.
Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey B. Henry today:
Serving Prince Georges and Montgomery County, Maryland.