Maryland Child Custody Agreements
“Who gets custody of the children?” This is one of the most difficult questions to answer during a separation or divorce. Despite the fact that in the past the mother was favored to win custody, Maryland law does not favor either parent and is neutral, acting in the best interest of the children.
Child custody can be a long fought emotional battle and proving what is the best interest of the children can be complex. It is important to hire a family law lawyer with experience in custody disputes.
The family law team at Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher can offer the support you need and help you navigate this complicated process towards a desirable outcome.
Types of Child Custody Agreements
Child custody disputes are resolved many different ways. However when a court determines child custody, it awards either legal custody or physical custody and sole custody or joint custody.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Legal Custody includes the right to make important, long-term decisions about children. Legal custody decisions include:
- health and medical treatment
- religious upbringing
The parent awarded legal custody will decide things like where the children go to school, who their doctors are, and what religion, if any, they will follow. If both parents are awarded joint legal custody, both parents must decide together.
Physical Custody determines where the children will live the majority of the time and governs daily decision-making as well as child support obligations. A parent who is awarded sole physical custody of the children will physically have the children for the majority of the time and the non-custodial parent will be awarded visitation determined by a set schedule. Parents can also be awarded joint physical custody where the children spend 50% of the tme with one parent and 50% of the time with the other.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
Sole custody is when the court awards custody to just one parent. In the instance of sole legal custody, one parent makes all long-term decisions about the children. In the case of sole physical custody, one parent has the children reside with them for the majority of the time.
Joint custody is when the court awards custody to both parents. In the instance of joint legal custody, this means that both parents must agree on all long-term decisions about the children. In the case of joint physical custody, both parents have substantial overnights with the children each year.
As always the standard for awarding either sole or joint custody is the “best interest of the child”. When the parents can’t get along and make joint decisions about their children, joint custody is usually not an option.
Contact Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher’s Family Law Attorneys
We will work to avoid litigation and settle your family law issues amicably through negotiation. However, when this is not possible, we fight vigorously to protect your interests in the courtroom. Either way, Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher is sensitive to your emotions, and we will always provide compassionate representation.
If you would like to speak with a member of the firm, or have any question about our practice, please contact our offices to arrange a consultation. Call 301-627-5500.