Maple Lawn Child Custody Lawyers Help Parents Place Children First
Navigating the complexities and uncertainties of child custody disputes
Courts are compelled by law to do what is in the best interest of the children when determining custody. Children have the right to expect that both parents will do more than just give them clothing, food, and shelter. Parents must take the responsibility to educate and nurture their kids into becoming happy, productive adults. Even when both parents understand that children need security and guidance, it is essential to put the legal custody rights into writing and to make the agreement part of a court order. When both parties are unable to come to an agreement on their own, custody agreements need to be forged through court litigation.
At McCabe Russell, PA, our Fulton child custody attorneys understand the legal and practical issues involved in working out child custody orders. We are prepared to reach agreements when a co-parent appreciates the responsibilities for raising the child, but we are equally fierce when litigation becomes necessary.
How does Howard County define legal custody?
Maryland separates legal custody (the responsibilities for making decisions for the children) from physical custody (where the child lives). Both types of custody, legal and physical, can be shared or can be held solely by one parent. Legal custody gives you the authority to make decisions about healthcare, education and religious upbringing. Ideally, you and your soon-to-be-former spouse will share these responsibilities, through joint legal custody.
How is the physical custody of children decided?
In Maryland, a parent can have primary or sole physical custody of a child, or both parents can have joint physical custody. Parents can, and are often encouraged to, create a parenting plan that will outline how they will participate in their child’s upbringing. When parents cannot agree, the court will make the decisions for them, factoring in things like:
- The fitness of each parent. Parents should be physically and mentally able to take care of their child. Prior abuse or violence against a child, alcoholism or drug addiction are indicators of unfitness, but so is abandonment. Parents who are not able to be steadily “in the picture” may not be granted joint custody of their kids.
- The daily caregiving ability of each parent. Parents who are better able to dress a child, prepare meals for the child, discuss the day with the child, spend time with the child’s friends and attend to daily needs will have a better chance of obtaining physical custody. Children with special needs or health concerns must be attended to, and a parent’s ability to care for those children will be a serious consideration for custody.
- The ability to communicate with other family members. Generally, judges prefer parents who can communicate with the other parent and his or her grandparents over a parent who is unjustifiably angry with the relatives.
- The living arrangements. Proximity to school, where the child spends time after school such as for piano lessons, and other practical living factors have relevance.
- The preferences of the child. Your children’s preferences are not weighted the way yours are, or your spouse’s are. Older children, however, may have their preferences taken into consideration, depending on the circumstances.
Do grandparents have legal custody or visitation rights?
In Maryland, the child's natural parents have presumptive custodial rights. In cases where parents are found to be unfit, or if there are other extenuating circumstances, the court may consider granting custody to a third-party.
At McCabe Russell, our family law team helps our clients find creative ways to ensure they spend time with their children, and are able to parent them in the best way possible. If one parent is denying another the right to see his or her children, we fight on behalf of our clients to enforce and uphold their custody agreement.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our Fulton attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
Talk with a caring, but tough, Maple Lawn child custody lawyer now
Decisions about child custody are often stressful and confusing. Parents should understand that once a parenting plan or an order is entered, it can be very hard to change the written decree without a significant change in circumstances. The lawyers at McCabe Russell, PA, are experienced child custody litigators, and we have even been approved to represent children as best interest lawyers. For clear guidance and strong advocacy, please phone us at 443-812-1435 or complete our contact form. We’re ready to help you and your child start anew when divorce or separation occurs.
8171 Maple Lawn Blvd
Fulton, Maryland 20759
Phone: (443) 812-1435