One of the hardest parts of a divorce is determining who gets custody of the children. Sometimes, parents easily agree on what is best for their children, but custody can be a hotly debated topic when both parents want to maintain primary custody of the child. With such an important issue, it is crucial to set aside emotions and do what is best for your child. Contact an Upper Marlboro child custody lawyer from our firm to discuss.

Our experienced family law attorneys are familiar with Maryland’s laws regarding child custody and visitation. We will listen closely to your concerns and recommend a realistic outcome for you and your family. The court considers a variety of factors when deciding custody issues, but ultimately, the well-being of the child is the most important consideration. If you have questions regarding a child custody dispute, contact us now to schedule a consultation.

Determining Child Custody

There are two types of custody to consider: physical and legal. Legal placement refers to the parent’s power to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and other important issues. On the other hand, physical custody refers to where the child lives and which parent is responsible or their day-to-day life.

Depending on the circumstances of the situation, the court might order different custody arrangements to meet the child’s needs. For example:

  • Shared physical custody: Sometimes, one child will split their time between the two parents.
  • Sole custody: Only one parent has legal and physical custody of the child. This is rare, and the court will only order this in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Split custody: When there are multiple children in a family, the court might determine that it is in their best interests to reside with different parents. As such, the parents would split custody.
  • Joint legal custody: When parents share legal custody it means that the child lives with one parent, but they both share the responsibility of making important decisions for the child’s life.

There are a variety of arrangements to meet each family’s needs. While custody issues can be contentious, it is in the best interest of the child to come to an equitable resolution. Relevant factors for custody include which parent is the primary caregiver, the child’s needs, and the child’s opinion on placement.

Another consideration for custody disputes is setting a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent. Even if one parent has primary custody, the other parent has a right to visitation. A child custody attorney in Upper Marlboro could help set a schedule to ensure the child spends time with both parents.

Custody and Visitation Factors the Court Will Consider

Often, the courts will weigh several factors when determining custody for parents, which could include:

  • The parent’s desires
  • The child’s preference
  • The age and health of the child
  • Geographic proximity of the houses
  • The parent’s character and reputation
  • The mental and financial capabilities of the parents
  • Prior history surrendering or abandonment of the child
  • The possibilities for maintaining neutral family relations
  • Material opportunities for the child that could impact their future

The courts will always work to determine what is in the child’s best interests when awarding custody. The courts can also always modify custody and visitation if there is a change in circumstances that could impact the child as well as deny these rights for a parent.

Modifications and Violations of Child Custody Orders

A change in life circumstances might justify modifying an existing child custody order. For example, if one parent moves away, changes work schedules, or the child requests a change themselves, the court may modify the order.

Older children may express their preference to live with one parent over the other. Their preference will be given some weight, but it is not the only consideration. Modifying a child support order requires a careful review of the circumstances for changing custody and determining what is in the best interest of a child.

Additionally, if a parent violates a custody order, there are serious consequences. Someone who refuses to comply with the court’s order could face contempt, kidnapping charges, or child abuse. If a co-parent or other guardian has violated an agreement, contact a local Largo child custody attorney to discuss modifying or enforcing the order.

Supervised Visitation

In some circumstances, the courts might require visitations to be supervised to make sure that the safety of the child is protected. There are instances where the courts could deny a parent’s right to visitation if the child’s well-being is a concern. However, all decisions will be made with the best interest of the child in mind.

Hire an Upper Marlboro Child Custody Attorney

Determining custody and visitation for your child is an incredibly important task. With so much at stake, the expertise of an Upper Marlboro child custody lawyer could be your greatest resource. Our dedicated legal professionals are ready to stand by your side and work toward a fair resolution.

If you are involved in a custody dispute or have questions about Maryland’s laws regarding other family law matters, contact us to set up a free consultation.