How Child Custody Works

By The Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis  Mar. 11, 2011 11:37a

The state of Maryland is “up” with the times. When the family court is determining child custody, it will always consider what is in the “best interests” of the child. In Maryland, physical or residential custody is not automatically awarded to the mother in a divorce. The court will look at a number of determining factors when decided which parent shall get primary physical or residential custody of the children. Child support and child custody/visitation is not necessarily permanent. The terms in child custody and support arrangements are always subject to change. Over time, circumstances can change for either parent, in which case a child custody modification may be pursued on behalf of the non-custodial parent or the custodial parent.

The Different Types of Child Custody

Sole Custody: Sole custody refers to when both legal and physical custody is awarded to one parent. This means that the child lives solely with that parent and, that parent has the sole right to make important decisions about the child such as schooling, religious upbringing, where they live, discipline, medical care and other important decisions about the child’s life. If you need assistance with a family law matter, contact a family law attorney today.

Joint or Shared Custody: Joint custody occurs with parents that do not live together or, have never lived together. With joint custody, parents share both physical custody of the children and the decision making responsibility over the children’s life and future.

Split Custody: Split custody involves more than one child, where one child will reside with one parent and the other child will reside with the other parent. This usually occurs based on the age of the children and mutual decisions made regarding which children live, with what parent.

Ideally, parents will come to an agreement on their own about child custody and visitation; however there are circumstances where it is necessary for the court to step in. When determining child custody, the courts will examine the child’s preference, both parents’ ability to provide food, clothing and shelter for the child, both parents’ physical health, mental health, any records of domestic violence, the stability of the home, schooling and social life. Where one parent has a drug or alcohol dependency, sole custody may be awarded to the other parent.

If you need assistance with your child custody matter, please contact an Annapolis child custody attorney from the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis today.

Contact an Annapolis child custody lawyer from our firm today for a free consultation.

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