01 Jan 2018

Types of Child Custody in Maryland

Child Custody laws are essential for all co-parents to be familiar with when going through a custody case themselves. The rules and regulations which are specific to the state you live in can be slightly different from those of other States. Maryland child custody laws are unique in some aspects, making it that much more crucial to get to understand these rules and regulations to prepare for your custody case.

Who Can Get Custody

Maryland courts give custody to biological or adoptive parents of a child. A natural parent is someone who’s biologically related to the kid, while a foster parent connects to the child through the adoption procedure. If both of the parents are found unfit or are otherwise unable to become guardians, a third party, along with an aunt or a grandfather, may be given custody.

The situation may get complicated when either one of the parties isn’t a biological parent of the child. Quite regularly, people consider adopting children of their spouses a legal formality, but this doesn’t make them any less of a parental figure. In this situation, an experienced Maryland custody lawyer can help build your case and negotiate a custody agreement.

Different types of child custody in Maryland

There’s more than one type of child custody. In fact, there are two:

Legal custody involves long-term decisions about child’s schooling, religious upbringing, medical care and overall welfare. A parent with legal custody can decide in which the child attends school or which doctor she or he goes.

Physical custody needs to do with the daily decisions about a child’s life and where he or she physically resides most of the time.

Custody differs and depends on whom it goes to :

  • A sole charge is provided to one parent.
  • Joint custody is when both parents share the custodial responsibilities.
  • Split custody happens when each parent gets custody of a child when there are multiple children.

Now the confusing part: sole, joint and split custody may be legal, physical or both. For example, parents may have joint legal custody, however physical custody isn’t shared and vice versa. That is why it helps to consult with a custody lawyer before you decide to go into a custody battle.

How is child support determined in Maryland?

Child support calculations are made by a mathematical calculation set forth by statute. This calculation involves the child support guidelines.

It is mandatory in Maryland that in each case where child support is involved then legislatively mandated child support suggestions should be used.

The suggestions use several factors to calculate child support, including, but not constrained to:

  • Gross income of each party
  • Alimony paid or obtained in this case
  • Alimony paid in a separate case
  • Child support spent in a different situation
  • Who has the physical custody of the child
  • If physical custody is shared, the number of overnights every parent has and
  • The cost of the child(ren)’s health insurance, daycare, and extraordinary medical expenses.

How have Maryland child custody laws changed?

Like many other states, Maryland child custody laws used to make presumptions that in uncontested instances, the mother is a better fit to be awarded custody than the father. These rules have since been changed, and now it isn’t presumed that either co-parent is a better fit to be sole custody than the other. It isn’t until after the court determines the best interest of the child that the co-parent who’s the better fit to be awarded custody can be determined. All of this has been changed to make sure that the court upholds the best interest of the kid.

If you want to know more about child custody in Maryland, please contact our family law lawyers or call 301-515-1190 to set up an initial consultation.

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