People in Maryland who have questions about child custody and support may have strong ideas about what they think is right and what they want to see happen in their case. They have often lived their predicament day-in and day-out for weeks, months or even years, and are intimately familiar with the facts of their case. However, the court, which hears thousands of child custody and support cases every year in Maryland, takes a cautious approach that might frustrate those who are anxious for results.
In some child custody cases, the court must essentially start from scratch and establish the true parents or guardians of the child. In some cases, this is not a disputed fact and the parents or guardians are well-established by law, but in some cases the inquiry becomes a little more complex. For these complex cases, establishment may be necessary. Legal paternity or guardianship can be sometimes be determined by a simple DNA test, but in other cases, including an increasing number of same-sex and non-traditional family structure cases, the court must go through an evidentiary hearing in order to determine whether the parties have standing and rights in the matter.