Imagine a couple; Emily and John married for five years and had two young children together. But when they decided to get a divorce, things became complicated. Emily and John couldn't agree on who should have custody of their children, and the situation became increasingly contentious. So how can they move forward?
When it comes to divorce or separation in Maryland, one of the most critical issues to resolve is child custody. Child custody determines which parent or guardian will have legal and physical responsibility for the child, and it can significantly impact the child's well-being and future.
If you're going through a divorce or separation in Maryland and have children, it's essential to understand the basics of child custody law in the state. Here's what you need to know:
Types of Child Custody in Maryland
There are two types of child custody in Maryland: legal and physical.
Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about the child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religion.
Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who is responsible for their day-to-day care.
Legal custody can be awarded jointly or solely to one parent, depending on the circumstances of the case. Joint legal custody means that both parents share the right to make important decisions about the child's life. Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the right to make these decisions.
The court can also award physical custody jointly or solely to one parent. Joint physical custody means the child spends significant time with both parents, while sole physical custody means that the child primarily lives with one parent and has visitation with the other.
Factors Considered in Child Custody Cases
When deciding child custody cases, the court considers several factors, including:
The child's age and health
Each parent's ability to care for the child
Each parent's relationship with the child
The child's preference, if they are old enough to express it
Each parent's living situation and ability to provide a stable home environment
Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent
The court's top priority in any child custody case is the child's best interests, which means the court will consider ALL relevant factors to determine the most beneficial arrangement for the child.
Child Custody Enforcement
After a custody agreement, it's vital to ensure that both parents abide by the terms of the contract. For example, both parents should follow the agreed-upon visitation schedule and ensure the child travels to the locations on time. Additionally, both parents should respectfully communicate with each other and avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of the child.
If one parent is not following the terms of the custody agreement, the other parent can seek enforcement of the agreement through the court system. This may involve filing a motion for contempt, which can result in the non-compliant parent being held in contempt of court and potentially facing penalties such as fines or even jail time.
Enforcing a custody agreement can be a complicated and emotional process, but with the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney, you can protect your rights and the best interests of your child.
How to Get Help With Your Child Custody Case
If you're going through a divorce or separation in Maryland and you have children, having an experienced family law attorney on your side is essential to help you navigate the complexities of child custody law. An attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, gather evidence to support your case, and represent you in court.
At the The JC Law Group, LLC, we have years of experience working with clients in child custody cases in Maryland. We understand the emotional and financial strain these cases can place on families, and we are committed to providing our clients with compassionate, personalized legal representation.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation if you need help with your child custody case. We'll work with you to understand your unique situation and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your family.