If you are the parent of a child in Maryland and you are seeking child support or custody but were never married to the child’s other parent, the law provides you with certain rights and privileges regarding your future relationship with your child.
Not married to your child’s other parent? Here is what Maryland Law Has to Say About Child Custody.
In general, Maryland’s child custody laws apply to unmarried parents in the same way they do to married couples with children, with the primary exception that paternity must be established before the case can proceed. This can be established in a number of way such as:
- The father’s name being on the child’s birth certificate
- When the man declares himself orally and in writing without the mother objecting
- A genetic test establishes paternity
Both parents are presumed to have equal rights to the child unless evidence and a judge establish that one parent should have sole custody.
All other factors being equal, no parent is presumed to have a superior right to custody of a child. A parent’s access to their child may be impacted by factors such as mental and physical fitness, a history of abuse, or the physical distance between the parents’ homes.
Is This a Sign That My Child’s Other Parent and I Will Share Custody?
Not always. If you and your child’s other parent agree to joint custody, both physical (agreeing on visitation schedules) and legal (agreeing on who makes educational and healthcare decisions), then things are fairly straightforward. This is not always the case, however. Occasionally, child custody cases proceed to a hearing before a judge, during which the judge’s decisions are guided by a standard known as the best interests of the child.
Numerous factors contribute to determining what is in the child’s best interests, including the following:
- Fitness – A parent’s physical, mental, and emotional capacity to meet the child’s needs.
- Domestic violence or abuse in the past
- Prior abandonment or relinquishment of custody
- Capacity to maintain familial bonds
In many cases, applying the best interests standard results in some form of joint custody. However, there are circumstances in which one parent should be given more parenting time or a greater share of decision-making responsibilities. Unfortunately, because the judge makes these determinations, it is impossible to predict the outcome of a custody hearing; however, an experienced family law attorney can make an educated guess based on previous hearing outcomes.
Need to Speak with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Maryland?
The child custody lawyers at Wobber Law Group are dedicated to assisting you in achieving your goals and ensuring that your children receive the best possible outcome. If you would like to speak to or schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, please provide your contact information below or call us at (410) 832-1800.
Contact Wobber Law Group LLC
If you would like to speak to or schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, please provide your contact information below or call us at (410) 832-1800.