One of the most difficult decisions for a court to ever make it is to determine the custody of children in a divorce proceeding. The test the court is to apply is what is in the best interest of the children. That is an easy and understandable concept, but its application to a particular family situation is very difficult.
There are many different factors that a judge will consider when deciding what the best interests of a child are in a child custody dispute. The first factor is the age of the child. In most cases with very young children, a judge tends to grant primary custody to the mother, although fathers’ rights awareness is changing that. A judge may also consider the preferences of the child as they enter their teen years.
The living situation of each parent will also be considered. If one parent remains in the family home after the divorce, they will most likely be granted primary custody to maintain stability for the children. In the case where both parents are moving out of the marital home, they should carefully consider where they will reside. Those who stay in close proximity to the child’s school or relatives, and those that maintain a home that provides a stable environment for the child will most likely be granted primary custody. If both parents are stable influences and stay within a reasonable distance from each other’s new home, a judge would be more likely to grant shared custody.
The relationships between the parents, their relatives, and their relationship with their children prior to the divorce are also important considerations. A judge will look favorably on couples that can communicate effectively post divorce in issues pertaining to their children. It is important that parents maintain relationships with in-laws and commit to maintaining their child’s relationship with their in-law’s family so that cultural traditions and family celebrations continue.
Same Sex Divorce in Maryland
Protocols for dealing with child custody issues for transgender parents or same-sex couples continue to unfold across the country. The majority of states across the nation have laws protecting the parental rights of transgender and same-sex couples. As more child custody disputes evolve among the LGBT community, courts are taking note of decisions being made, and continue to focus on the outcomes as they relate to the best interest of the children involved.
Abuse in Marriage
If a parent has been accused of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect; has a history of addiction problems; or has a history of convictions for federal or violent crimes, a judge will need to carefully consider the safety of the marital children. In most cases, primary custody is granted to the other parent, but the judge still needs to decide if the affected parent has visitation rights, and if the visits need to be supervised. The safety of the children must remain the utmost importance in the judge’s ruling.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Divorcing Couples in Child Custody Disputes
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce where children are involved, the experienced team of Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help protect your parental and custodial rights. Our team is committed to ensuring the best interests of your child are served.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Hunt Valley, Towson, and Pikesville, Maryland and we serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County as well as the towns of Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.