Child custody is often the most contentious issue that divorcing and separating couples face. Determining the most appropriate custody and visitation arrangement for a couple’s minor children quickly and fairly is always in the best interest of the children. Legal experts frequently debate over which factors courts should consider in deciding child custody arrangements.
While the earliest American laws created a paternal preference with respect to child custody, the early twentieth century saw a complete reversal of this preference. At that time, mothers almost exclusively obtained primary custody under the “tender years” presumption. The strict maternal preference was eventually replaced by a less definitive standard which based child custody awards on the best interest of the child.
The idea of two parents sharing custody of their minor children is a relatively new concept in the law that developed in the late twentieth century. A strong and meaningful relationship with both parents is now considered what is best for the minor children. A 2014 research study reflects these changing norms in child custody. Sole custody being awarded to mothers no longer constitutes the majority of custody arrangements. This new normal of shared parenting is reflected by the latest custody terms including decision making and parenting plans.
Most recently, a voter initiative in North Dakota attempted to address some of the complicated issues surrounding child custody. If passed, North Dakota’s Parental Rights Initiative would have required courts to award equal parenting time to both parents. The Parents Rights Initiative was defeated by North Dakota voters this past November by a margin of 62% to 38%. Opponents of this measure feared that any presumption may be a dangerous shift from using the best interest of the child standard. For now, most states continue to move closer and closer towards sharing parenting by choice rather than by legal mandate.
Dedicated Baltimore County Child Custody Lawyers represent Individuals Engaged in Custody Disputes throughout Maryland
Individuals facing a child custody dispute with their former spouse should always consult with an experienced child custody lawyer to ensure that all their legal rights are protected. At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, we are experienced with all aspects of Maryland child custody law. Our Hunt Valley divorce lawyers work with divorced and separated individuals on issues involving child custody and visitation, property distribution, child support and alimony.
Our law offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Maryland to serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Towson, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster and Essex. To schedule your free confidential consultation, call us today at (443) 589-0150 or contact us online.