Towson Child Custody Lawyers
When a married couple with children separates or divorces, the effects on the family unit can be devastating. At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, our experienced Hunt Valley divorce lawyers understand that for many families resolving disputes about child custody arrangements can be the most emotionally charged issues in the separation and divorce process.
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 natural legal guardians of their children.
Physical custody addresses where a child will actually reside as well as which parent will make the day to day decisions regarding a child’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 a child spends with each parent is shared. Shared physical custody is often not split equally between two parents. Common shared physical custody arrangements include a child living with one parent during the school year and living with the other parent during summer vacation or a child 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 of the children is awarded to one parent, while the other parent receives physical custody of the remainder of the children.
Even without physical custody, both parents have the right to access the educational, medical and dental records of their children at any time.
Factors Courts Examine in Determining Custody Arrangements
Maryland has abolished the “maternal preference doctrine” which gave preference to mothers with respect to the custody of young children, and acknowledges father’s rights in the custody decision. Instead, courts examine all the facts and circumstances of each individual case in determining what child custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Some of these considerations include the parents’ physical fitness, psychological health, financial ability to support a child and character traits. Other important factors are the child’s preferences and whether there is history of child abandonment or abuse by either parent. The sexual preferences or behavior of a parent (such as promiscuity, a history of adultery or homosexuality) is only relevant to the determination of the child custody to the extent it affects the welfare of a child or the parent’s ability to care for a child.
Considerations for granting shared physical custody often include additional factors such as the ability of the parents to communicate with each other regarding daily life activities and decisions, the employment demands of each parent, the willingness of the parents to share custody, what school the child will be attending and the number and age of all the children living in the home.
Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC: Experienced Towson Child Custody Lawyers Advocating for the Rights of Parents
In Maryland parents are required to participate in court ordered custody mediations and custody visitation evaluations. The 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 Baltimore County divorce lawyers are sensitive to the fact that many families do not wish to put their children through the additional stress of having to testify in court and we work with families to resolve all child custody issues as quickly and easily as possible. Our attorneys also have significant experience working with Maryland child advocates. A court will appoint these child advocates to represent a child’s interest during child custody proceedings in certain cases.
If you are in the middle of a child custody dispute, the experienced Hunt Valley divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you navigate the complexities of Maryland child custody law. Our attorneys are experienced mediators, negotiators and litigators who can handle all of your family law needs. To schedule your free confidential consultation, contact Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Our law offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, MD for easy access from all regions throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the areas of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia, Pikesville and Bel Air.