Children are often front and center when a couple is separating, and it is most unfortunate that their lives are been affected. Coming up with a plan on how to address their living, schooling, and various other necessary arrangements is critical. In all Maryland child custody cases, the standard is what is in the “best interests of the child.” The Court will consider factors such as the fitness of each parent, the parent’s ability to communicate and reach shared decisions and the relationship between the child and each parent. Contact our experienced attorneys in Towson, Maryland, who represent clients in all types of custody matters including initial determinations of custody and modifications of existing custody arrangements.
There are two types of custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody.
Legal custody refers to the privilege of making major decisions in the best interest of the child, particularly with respect to education, medical and religious decisions.
Physical Custody refers to the day to day actual physical location of where the child is and who is caring for the child.
Both of these types of custody could be awarded to one parent solely, both parents jointly, or to neither parent (i.e. a third-party). There are many gradations in between and the Court could grant shared physical custody but favor one parent over the other in terms of time with the child given to each parent. Cases involving custody to someone other than a parent (i.e. a third-party) can be very difficult and there is a presumption that a child’s welfare is best served in the custody of a parent rather than the custody of a third-party. However, if a third-party is seeking custody, that party must prove to the Court that both parents are unfit, or that extraordinary circumstances exist which would render parental custody detrimental to a child.
Custody determinations are subject to the Court’s discretion, and often require a lot of time and effort for both the parent and the attorneys to work out a suitable arrangement. Custody is always modifiable so long as there is a material change of circumstances. Having an experienced custody attorney on retainer is very important if you want to ensure that you are able to spend time with your child or children, and that you get the type of custody that makes sense for you and your child or children.
Visitation refers to time that a non-custodial caregiver spends with a child. Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised depending on the Court’s order and may be as frequent or infrequent as the Judge determines to be in the best interest of the child.
If you are looking to gain visitation rights to see your child, or if you would like to prevent someone from gaining visitation rights, call the Law Offices of Kerri Cohen.