Anne Arundel County Child Custody Attorney
If you’re going through a divorce in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, chances are you’re also facing the daunting task of determining child custody arrangements. An Anne Arundel County child custody attorney can help. Anne Arundel County has a one-size-fits-all answer on how the court will handle a child custody case. Child custody arrangements will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
An Anne Arundel County child custody attorney can also guide you on how the child custody laws may apply to your situation. Even with an attorney, it’s essential to understand the basics of child custody law in Anne Arundel County, MD. This will help you make the best decisions for your family during this emotional period.
Keep reading to learn more about Anne Arundel County child custody arrangements.
Overview of What an Anne Arundel County Child Custody Attorney Does
During a child custody case, you have rights as the child’s parent. An Anne Arundel County child custody attorney will help you understand and assert your rights. The attorney will use their experience with Anne Arundel County child custody law to develop an arrangement that is in your child’s best interests.
Your attorney will also be able to help you navigate the Anne Arundel County court system. This is especially important if you have never been through the process before. If you already have a custody arrangement in place but the other parent isn’t following it, an attorney can help you enforce the terms of the agreement.
An attorney can also help parents who are having difficulty communicating with each other. The lawyer can mediate between the parents and help them agree on child custody and visitation.
Legal Definition and Important Laws Regarding Child Custody in MD
Under Maryland law, child custody refers to how parents who go separate ways will share their children. More specifically, it describes which parent will make decisions about the child’s upbringing and with whom the child will live.
One thing you should know about Anne Arundel County child custody laws is that both you and your spouse have the right to petition the circuit court for custody of your child. However, you can privately decide on a custody arrangement without involving the court. The circuit court only comes in if you can’t seem to agree on a custody matter for the child’s best interest.
The decision the court makes about your child custody case is only temporary. If situations change, you can go back to court and ask the judge to modify their decision.
Types of Child Custody in Maryland
The court can order different types of child custody in Maryland. These include:
De facto Child Custody: This refers to the parent who has custody of the child before bringing the matter to court.
Joint Child Custody: This type of custody can be joint legal or shared physical custody. In the former, both parents cooperate in the child’s upbringing even when the child resides with one parent. In shared physical custody, the child can live with either of the parents, spending at least 35% of their time with each parent.
Legal Custody: When you have legal custody of your child, you are responsible for making decisions about their upbringing. These decisions include education, religion, and healthcare.
Physical Custody/Parenting Time: When you have this type of custody, you make all the decisions regarding your child’s needs, including where you want them to live.
Sole Child Custody: In this arrangement, only one parent has the legal right to decide their child’s upbringing and where they live. The child will primarily live with this parent.
Split Custody: This applies when two or more children are involved, and each parent has custody of at least one child. Maryland courts rarely award this type of custody and will only do so due to factors such as the child’s wishes or age.
Temporary Custody: This type of custody only applies until the court makes a final custody decision. The judge may award this type of custody if there is a need to protect the child from harm or if one parent needs time to get their life in order before they can care for the child full-time.
How Child Custody Works in Anne Arundel County
The Anne Arundel County Circuit Court handles all child custody cases in the county. You must meet various requirements before filing a child custody case in Anne Arundel County. One is that your child must be living in Maryland.
You should also have sufficient proof that you have close contact with Maryland State. You can prove this by showing that you work, vote, or pay taxes in the state.
But your child may not necessarily be living in Maryland when you’re filing the case. In that case, you must show that your child has lived in the state for the past six months and that you currently reside in Maryland.
If you want child custody, you must prove that you can care for the child now and in the future. You can also file for child custody if the child is under emergency protection due to neglect or abuse.
Once you file your child custody case, the Anne Arundel Circuit Court will consider various factors when making a decision. These factors include:
- The child’s age
- The child’s health and special needs
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
- The stability of each parent’s home life
- How long the parent has been away from the child
- The child’s preference (if they are of sufficient age)
- Whether one parent has abandoned the child before or surrendered custody
Note that this list is not exhaustive. The Circuit Court will consider different factors depending on the unique circumstances of each case.
Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married in Maryland?
There is no significant difference between how Maryland’s child custody law works for married and unmarried parents. The main distinction is that unmarried fathers do not have automatic parental rights over their children. The father must establish paternity to gain custody.
As a father, you can establish paternity in various ways, including:
- A genetic test
- Having your name on the child’s birth certificate
- Showing a written paternity declaration that the other parent does not oppose
After establishing paternity, you will have the same child custody rights as any other parent in Maryland. You can file for sole or joint custody and request visitation rights.
What Type of Custody Is Best for the Child?
For the sake of the child or children, joint custody is often the best option when possible. Joint custody allows both parents to share in the responsibilities of raising the child. The child also gets to spend time with both parents and maintain a close relationship with both.
How Can Someone Lose Child Custody in Maryland?
You might have all the information you need about obtaining child custody. But do you know when you might lose custody? The court can take away custody if you:
- Physically or emotionally abuse the child
- Neglect the child
- Interfere with parenting time
- Abduct a child
- Go to prison
- Abuse alcohol and drugs
These behaviors can result in the other parent gaining sole custody of the child.
What Are the Disadvantages and Advantages of Joint Custody?
While joint custody is often in the child’s best interest, it is not always desirable. Here is an overview of its pros and cons:
- Allows both parents to be actively involved in the child’s life
- The child maintains close relationships with both parents
- Encourages communication and cooperation between the parents
- The child might feel torn between two homes
- Parents must be able to communicate and cooperate
- May require more flexible schedules
A Child Custody Checklist for Maryland Parents
If you are a parent seeking custody in Maryland, you need a parenting plan to guide you in raising your kids after a divorce. Our child custody checklist ensures that both parents are active in their kids’ lives: The checklist will help you:
- Stipulate your parenting goals
- Determine the best parenting schedule split
- Come up with the ground rules for communication
- Determine how to make major child-related decisions
- Lay out clear terms on how to settle disagreements
- Plan your parenting schedule
How a Child Custody Attorney From Divorce With a Plan Can Help You
Our professionals at Divorce With a Plan understand the complexities of child custody and can help you navigate the process. We will:
- Assess your case
- Provide guidance on what to expect
- Help you understand your legal options
- Advocate on your behalf
- Work to protect your parental rights
If you are facing a child custody battle, our team will provide the support you need to ensure that the entire process is smooth. Whether you want to file a petition or change an existing custody arrangement, we can help.
Contact Divorce With a Plan Today to Get in Touch Regarding Your Case
Not only is child custody an emotional process, but it is also a complex legal matter. To ensure your case is handled appropriately, you need an experienced Anne Arundel County child custody attorney by your side.
At Divorce With a Plan, our team will work tirelessly to protect your parental rights and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. We will prioritize the child’s best interests throughout the process. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.