‘Who wins custody of your children?’ This is typically one of the most challenging questions to explicitly answer during a divorce or separation matter. Irrespective of what people usually believe that the mother is always favored to obtain child custody, the law in commonwealth of Maryland is optimally neutral thus does not, in any way, favor either parent. A court primarily seeks to answer just one question when determining custody, i.e. what would result in the ‘best interest’ of the child under consideration?
According to a divorce attorney Maryland, child custody is typically a long fought war, and clearly proving what would be in a child’s best interest can surely be challenging. Thus, it is imperative to hire a well-versed legal practitioner who practices family law with either specialization or extensive experience in child custody disputes.
There are several ways to smoothly resolve child custody disputes. Visitation agrrangements, i.e. deciding which parent spends what time with the child and when, can be legally arranged in plenty of ways as per the schedules best suited for each of the parent as well as the child in every unique and special situation. However, a court determines visitation arrangements within only a few categories as follows:
Legal vs. Physical Custody
Courts in Maryland go for two uniquely different types of child custody, viz. physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody decides where a child lives on a daily basis, governs everyday decision-making, and frequent child support obligations. On the other hand, legal custody involves the potential right to make long-term, important decisions related to child’s interest, such as child’s education, health and wellbeing, and religious upbringing.
Joint custody vs. sole custody
Accordingly to divorce attorney Maryland specialists, the court awards both legal and physical custody as either joint or sole. In case of a joint legal custody, all long-term child related decisions have to be made by both parents’ mutual agreement unless one parent already has a tie-breaking authority. On the other hand, sole legal custody gives only one parent such long-term decision-making rights about the child. In case of joint physical custody, each parents spends substantial overnights with the child every year. On the contrary, sole physical custody allows only one parent to reside with the child for majority of the duration, while the other parent can visit the child during either agreed upon visitation or court-appointed times.
Bird’s Nesting Custody Agreement
A bird’s nesting custody as per attorney Maryland is a co-parenting agreement in which the child remains in only one house while the parents take mutually agreed or court-scheduled turns residing in the house with them. Consequently, once a visiting parent’s appointed or agreed turn is over, then he/she returns to his/her personal/shared residence, and the other parents comes in to visit the child.
Negotiating Child Custody Arrangements
Since custody situations are most often emotionally charged and uniquely different to each family, the attorney Maryland specialists prefer arrangements of child custody matter to be accepted by the parents outside of the court. Thus, retaining a well-versed family law legal representative is vital to reaching an effective custody agreement.