Many aspects of a divorce are emotionally charged, but none as much as deciding child custody arrangements. Parents that cannot reach amicable agreements need to rely on the courts to decide custody. In Maryland, a judge will consider many factors when deciding custody, including the preference of the child.
Maryland child custody laws focus on the best interests of the child, and decisions on which parent is fit to serve the best interests of the child are determined by careful examination of several factors. The parent’s physical, financial, and emotional health are very important. The home environment must be conducive to child rearing, particularly in relation to school systems and support services. Judges look at the parental relationship with the child as well as with each other. Parents must be willing and able to communicate and collaborate cooperatively in matters concerning the children. The age, sex, and needs of each child in the family are considered as well.
Geographical location and the proximity of the parents in relation to each other is also important. Even if one parent is granted primary custody, the distance between parental residences needs to be considered so that both parents can be involved in the lives and responsibilities of the child. The financial health of each parent is also a vital factor for the judge to consider. Parents who travel frequently as part of their job may not be good candidates for primary custody. If one parent works locally and can be available to the children on a regular basis, that parent may be favored by the judge. The court will also consider the number of children in the family, and whether the custody decision will have an effect on any state or federal aid being provided to the family.
Considering the Child’s Preference in a Child Custody Agreement
The judge involved in granting custody may take into consideration which parent the child prefers to live with if the child can demonstrate an understanding of what the decision’s impact will have. The maturity of the child and their ability to clearly express their desire are two of the most important factors in considering the child’s wishes. Age does not automatically certify a child as mature. In some cases, a five-year-old child may be able to express their preference with clarity while a ten-year-old child struggles to clearly state which parent they prefer, or why they would choose to live with them.
Maryland judges are sensitive to the fact that testifying in court can be an emotionally traumatizing event for a child. Testifying on tape, speaking to the judge in private, or granting a custodial lawyer to advocate on behalf of the child can lessen the burden placed on the child. The goal in all cases is to make the process as stress free and efficient as possible.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Parents Reach Amicable Child Custody Settlements
The experienced and compassionate Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are committed to helping parents reach amicable child custody agreements in the most stress free and efficient method possible. Our team makes sure that the best interests of the child are served at all times.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices serve clients throughout the state of Maryland. If you are considering a divorce where children are involved, we can help.