Towson Child Custody Lawyers
When a married couple with children goes through a divorce, the family unit is devastated. The children will be involved in a child custody plan and parenting plan that has been created by both parents. The couple will make changes to their arrangements as their lives change and as their kids grow older.
The couple must calculate child support, and visitation must be determined. There are also times when grandparents may want to take custody of the grandchildren because they believe that it is in the children’s best interests.
A lawyer should be involved in this process so that everything is managed properly. There are quite a few things that can be done when working with lawyers because attorneys can provide mediation, support, and even courtroom prowess when couples go through a divorce. Our lawyers work with divorcing couples every day, and we will ensure that all the appropriate information comes to light, everyone is equally involved, and a proper child custody agreement can be completed.
Our experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC understand that for many families, resolving disputes about child custody arrangements can be the most emotionally charged issues in the divorce process.
What is Legal and Physical Child Custody?
Maryland courts address both the legal and physical custody of minor children. Parents who possess legal custody have the right and obligation to make long-range decisions involving major life and welfare issues, such as education, religion, discipline, and medical treatment.
Legal custody can be held by a single parent or jointly. When a court awards joint legal custody, both parents have an equal voice in decision making. Maryland law presumes that both parents are the joint legal guardians of their children.
Parents often split decisions or expenses in this capacity. For example, a parent who is a doctor may handle all medical decisions for the children or help make medical decisions because of his or her expertise. A parent who is a teacher may agree to guide all educational decisions for the children, or the parents might agree to split all decisions equally.
Expenses for the children can be split in a similar manner. The parent who insists that the girls play softball can agree to pay for the softball league registration, whereas the parent who wants the kids in dance can agree to pay for dance. It is best for parents to discuss these things and include these agreements in the divorce decree so that there is no confusion.
Physical custody, on the other hand, addresses where the children will actually reside, as well as which legal guardian will make the day to day decisions regarding the children’s daily activities. Physical custody can also be held by a single parent or jointly by both parents.
In joint or shared physical custody, the time children spend with each parent is shared. Shared physical custody is often not split equally between two parents. Common shared physical custody arrangements include children living with one parent during the school year and living with the other parent during summer vacation. Additionally, it could involve children living with one parent during the week and living with the other parent on the weekends.
Physical custody may also be split, which occurs when physical custody of one or more children is awarded to one parent, and the other parent receives physical custody of the other child or children. Even without physical custody, both parents have the right to access the educational, medical, and dental records of their children at any time.
Another split physical custody situation is called “nesting”, this is where the children live in just one home while the parents rotate in and out of the home. While this arrangement prevents excessive upheaval for the children, it can be difficult or expensive to manage for the parents.
How is Child Access and Visitation Evaluated?
Maryland has abolished the maternal preference doctrine, which gave preference to mothers in regard to the custody of young children. Nowadays, a father’s rights are acknowledged in custody decisions. Courts examine all the facts and circumstances of each individual case when determining what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children.
Some of these considerations include:
- Physical fitness of the parents.
- Psychological health of the parents.
- Financial ability to support the children.
- Character traits of the parents.
- Preferences of the children.
- Whether there is a history of child abandonment or abuse.
- Sexual preferences or behaviors of parents, such as promiscuity, a history of adultery, or homosexuality, is only relevant to the determination of the child custody if it affects the welfare of the children, or the parent’s ability to care for the children.
These factors are carefully reviewed by a judge, but one of our Towson child custody lawyers can help argue on your behalf. Our determined lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary for your difficult case. One of our respected lawyers will fight for your rights and ensure you obtain a fair child custody arrangement. We understand how important these matters are for all families.
Financial considerations, psychological health, physical health, and even character traits can be explained by one of our Towson divorce lawyers who has reviewed your case.
Moreover, considerations for granting shared physical custody often include additional factors:
- Ability of the parents to communicate with each other regarding daily life activities and decisions.
- Employment demands of each parent.
- Willingness of the parents to share custody of their children.
- What school the children will be attending.
- Age and number of all children living in the home.
Keep in mind that a Maryland family court judge can decide on custody if the parents cannot come to a mutual agreement, regardless of what the parents want.
How Are Parenting Plans Created During Divorce?
Parenting plans are created using the input of both parents and the children. A parenting plan includes things like the children’s schedule, activities, visitation, and how child support will be paid.
Parenting plans are created with the help from both parents because they have jobs and obligations they must meet. If the parenting plan is designed to meet the needs of everyone, it may need to change in the future.
The parenting plan can be used to make a simple transition when the kids are dropped off, and the plan can be referred to when parents are paying for the children’s expenses. When the parents are working on a plan, they should try to come to an agreement on their own. The court is more likely to accept an agreement that both parents have worked on together.
A parenting plan should be written clearly, and it helps to have one of our Towson child custody lawyers write the parenting plan. Both sides can use an official copy of the plan to manage the children, and there will be no disputes over the plan or how it was created.
How Are Fathers’ Rights Upheld in Court?
A father’s rights are no different than a mother’s rights. Fathers, however, may still fall victim to the antiquated maternal preference doctrine. It is no longer wise to automatically provide mothers with custody; however, sometimes, this still happens in court. You may find that the mother’s rights outweigh the father’s rights.
If a father is considering divorce, he should work with one of our Towson divorce lawyers to determine how he can gain custody or retain partial custody. Fathers may have been met with false accusations or have been told that they could not possibly retain custody.
As mentioned above, parents are screened to determine how they can care for the children. This is vitally important because a father’s concerns may not be taken seriously. When fathers want to raise issues like physical or emotional health, they should do so with the help of one of our attorneys. Making blind accusations without proof or documentation will not solve the problem.
We work with fathers to create a plan for a divorce that is appropriate for everyone, and we ensure that a father is heard throughout the child custody phase of the divorce. If fathers have been forgotten in the past, they can fire their lawyers and hire us right away. We will get to work on the case immediately so that the father has rightful representation.
How Can Grandparents’ Rights be Upheld?
Grandparents could join the conversation about child custody if they believe that their grandchildren may be safer with them. Grandparents may not be part of a divorce proceeding, but they can come forward when they believe that they should act in the best interests of the children.
The courts in Maryland will act in the best interests of the children, but that does not mean that grandparents will automatically receive custody. The burden of proof is heavy when the grandparents believe that they should request custody of the children. The court will consider several factors that are unique to this situation:
- How long the children have been away from their parents.
- Any transgressions or criminal records that could impact a parent’s ability to care for the children.
- Sincerity of the grandparents’ request.
- Age of the children.
- Preference of the children.
- Age of the grandparents and their ability to care for the children.
- Exceptional circumstances involving the inability of the parents to care for the children.
Grandparents must be prepared to demonstrate that the exceptional circumstances involving their grandchildren are so severe that those children should be removed from their home. The judge will take into account the emotional impact of taking the kids out of the family home, and that will be added to other evidence that has been produced.
Our Towson child custody lawyers will work with grandparents when they believe they should seek full custody of their grandchildren. Complaining to the police, contacting child services, or complaining to the parents only amounts to harassment. Our lawyers will develop a strong case that helps grandparents prove they should retain custody. While grandparents or other relatives may feel they need to save the children, the case must be proven in court.
Can You Make Modifications to a Child Support or a Custody Plan?
A child support or custody agreement can be changed at any time with the help from one of our lawyers. Child support has been calculated based on the incomes of both parents at the time of the divorce. Modifications to child support agreements can be amended when the parent with physical custody remarries, there is a job change, and in numerous other circumstances.
Modification to the child custody plan can be amended if the family needs to move, or the parents may want more visitation rights because they believe their agreement is not specific enough for them. We work with divorced parents to help adjust their child support or custody plan. Provide any available evidence to show why the agreement should be changed, and we will petition to issue alterations. We will try our best to configure a custody plan that works for you.
Why is it Important to Have an Experienced Lawyer?
Choosing a lawyer that is right for you is essential because divorce, child custody and support battles are emotionally and financially difficult. In order for the divorce process to go more smoothly and quickly, it is best to have an experienced lawyer by your side. A lawyer who is knowledgeable about all aspects of family law will help you obtain a fair settlement and will make certain you are awarded plenty of time with your children.
At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, our child custody lawyers have the dedication you need for your case. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you obtain a suitable child custody arrangement.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Offer Experienced Services to Divorcing Parents
In Maryland, parents are required to participate in court-ordered custody mediations and custody visitation evaluations. Our accomplished Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are experienced negotiators who can help place you in the best possible position as you enter into these legal proceedings. Our attorneys are experienced mediators, negotiators, and litigators who can handle all of your family law needs. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we work with divorcing parents throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.