Determining Child Custody in Maryland
When children are involved, a divorce often becomes more complicated—which is why having the right child custody lawyers is so important. At Andalman & Flynn, we fight to protect your best interests during this difficult time so you can focus on supporting your children and starting a better life.
Determining Child CustodyCustody is determined during the divorce process, either through mediation or through a judge's decision. There are two types of child custody in the state of Maryland: 1). Legal custody and 2). Physical custody.
Legal custody defines the parental right to make decisions regarding the child's health, education, and welfare. Physical custody refers to the child's daily living arrangements. There are two basic custody scenarios for both types: sole custody and joint custody.
Sole CustodyIn sole custody arrangements, one parent has all legal rights and powers, including the right to make all decisions. In cases of sole physical custody, the child resides with the custodial parent; the non-custodial parent is given the right to visit the child.
The limited rights and privileges of the non-custodial parent have evolved in most states over the past decade to provide equal legal access to child-related information of an educational and medical nature, and to make medical decisions in emergencies when the child is in the non-custodial parent's care.
Joint CustodyIn joint custody arrangements, each parent retains certain rights and responsibilities with respect to post-divorce parenting. Wide latitude exists among states in the definition of joint custody and under what circumstances it will be permitted and denied. With joint legal custody, both parents retain power to make decisions about their children, although in many states, the particular decisions to be jointly made must be specified in order to preserve the authority.
Likewise, while the definition of joint physical custody varies among states, it is traditionally an arrangement by which a child lives an equal amount of time with each parent. In contrast, joint legal custody may include a less than equal division of time, meeting the required number of overnights as specified by state statute, which allows greater flexibility in creating a joint physical custody schedule that suits a child's best interests.
Consultation with Maryland Child Custody LawyersOnce child custody arrangements are in place, they usually remain so until the child reaches maturity. However, custody is always modifiable. There are cases in which one parent can re-open child custody proceedings if the parent can prove that the other parent is causing emotional or physical harm to the child, or it is no longer in the child's best interests to maintain the arrangement that is in place.
Andalman & Flynn's child custody lawyers in Maryland are experienced in enforcing and modifying existing custody arrangements. Whether on the basis of changes to your current situation, either pending or having occurred over time, or due to an emergency requiring immediate intervention, we can help you resolve your custody claims with an agreement that suits the needs of your children.