Divorce is a difficult and confusing time. When children are involved, the stakes are exponentially higher. Determining who receives custody of the children is often an emotionally fraught process that takes place in family court. In Maryland, the best interests of the child determine child custody. There are many kinds of child custody related to the unique needs of the family.
Temporary custody refers to the placement of the child(ren) during the court process until a permanent custody decision is made. This order usually applies when the divorce and/or child custody case begins. The temporary custody order has no effect on the outcome of permanent placement.
Physical custody refers to the home where the child(ren) spend the most time. The parent with physical custody will be making decisions about everyday care and meeting the daily needs of the child(ren). Physical custody may be divided into a schedule between each parent to allow joint physical custody or visitation.
The parent with physical custody is most frequently granted legal custody. However, in some cases, a child may live permanently with one parent while the absent parent can still participate in legal decisions. This arrangement allows the best physical custody for the child while both parents can participate in long-term decisions like education, religious upbringing, and healthcare.
Sole custody may include legal custody, physical custody, or both. However it is rare for the courts to grant a parent sole legal custody unless one parent is deemed unfit by the court. Examples of what a parent might be unfit include: a history of violence, mental instability, abuse of drugs or alcohol, or child neglect. Even then, under a supervised visitation agreement, visitation rights could be granted
Typically, joint custody is an arrangement where both parents work together to offer the best upbringing of the child(ren). Child(ren) will divide their time between both residences based on their best interests. Occasionally, joint legal custody is granted where the child(ren) reside with one parent, but both parents take part in major decisions.
If you are facing divorce proceedings in Maryland, seek a reputable custody lawyer. Call Patrick Crawford, who is an experienced Annapolis child custody lawyer who can help. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn how to take charge of your child custody case.
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