While a divorce happens between two spouses, the end of a marriage will undoubtedly have a serious effect on your children, as well. The law recognizes that a child’s life can be significantly impacted by a divorce, and it sets out protections for a child’s interests. Courts will require parents to have determinations for child custody arrangements and child support before a divorce can be finalized in Maryland.
Divorcing parents must have a clear picture of how they will share both physical custody (physical access to their child) and legal custody (decision-making responsibilities for their child). The courts do not automatically favor one parent over the other in a custody determination and, instead, it focuses on what is in the best interests of the child.
In many situations, parents can reach their own agreement about how to divide custody and what their schedule will be. If the court agrees the proposed arrangement is in the best interests of the child, it can simply approve the custody agreement and include it in the final divorce judgment. If parents cannot agree, the court will hear each parent’s arguments and will make a decision for the parents.
It is almost always preferable for parents to reach their own agreement for many reasons, including:
In order to ensure your child has a sense of security and support in the midst of a divorce, you and your spouse should explore every option to reach a custody agreement. Just because you do not initially agree does not mean you have to march into court. Instead, the right lawyer can help you with negotiation, mediation, and other options that can assist you in reaching an out-of-court agreement.
In Maryland, child support depends on a formula set out by state law. The court will consider each parent’s income, expenses, custodial schedules, and the needs of the child and will calculate the amount of support that one parent should pay to the other. While most cases follow this formula, the standard calculation may reach an unfair result under certain circumstances. Your lawyer should be able to identify when to request that the court deviates from the formula to address your specific situation.
You always want to minimize the effects of divorce on your children, and working to resolve child-related issues in a cooperative and effective manner can help achieve this goal. Whether you are facing divorce or want to modify an existing custody or support order, you should not wait to discuss the matter with a divorce lawyer in Annapolis. Call the Law Office of Patrick Crawford at (410) 216-7905 or contact us online.