According to current data, nearly 40 percent of children born in the state of Maryland in 2016 were born to unmarried mothers. Separating from a significant other you are not married to comes with unique child custody and visitation issues. Research shows that children benefit greatly with consistent involvement from both parents, married or unmarried, so resolving your child custody issues effectively is not just good for you, it is good for your kids. The following is a look at factors facing unmarried parents who choose to separate:
Unmarried parents who are both legal parents, either biological or adoptive, approach child custody issues in the same way as married couples during a divorce. Unmarried parents who communicate well may choose to go through mediation. Through ongoing negotiation about the details of custody, support, and visitation, they can arrive at a peaceful resolution that satisfies all parties involved.
Unmarried parents who cannot come to an agreement on these important issues must submit their case to the court system. In family court, a judge or magistrate listens to testimony to determine the fitness of both parents and makes a ruling accordingly. The judge is bound to a legal standard that puts the best interests of the child before anything else. Some states allow the judge to consider custody and visitation proposals submitted by the parents. They may approve them directly or recommend modifications before approval.
In many couples, one partner helps raise a child that is not biologically their own. Unfortunately, when these couples break up, the non-biological parent essentially has no legal rights when it comes to the child. This issue is becoming more relevant as blended families become more common. Some states are beginning to recognize the rights of non-legal parents and even allow them to bring action for visitation for a child they have parented for a significant amount of time. In Maryland, a non-legal parent may be entitled to custody or visitation if their prior relationship with the child is such that they were like a parent. This is called a de facto parent.
Aside from custody, visitation, and support, the courts do not necessarily get involved in the finer details of child-rearing or parenting agreements. Your Towson child custody lawyer is a great resource for creating fair and effective parenting agreements. If the courts feel your child’s safety or well-being is in jeopardy, they may order modifications to your parenting agreement. Approaching your parenting agreement with a bit of flexibility and willingness to compromise will help the process go smoothly and will possibly keep you out of the court room.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist Unmarried Parents with Custody, Support, and Visitation Matters
A marriage does not change a parent’s affection or responsibility for their child. Couples who separate without a divorce have the same practical and emotional concerns regarding their children. The Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC help unmarried parents navigate these complex issues while protecting the interests of their children. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free case review. We serve clients at our office locations in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, including those from the communities of Hunt Valley, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Towson, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.