Questions And Answers About Maryland Child Custody
After 45 years as a family law attorney, Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA, in Rockville, knows a few things about Maryland child custody. He also knows that you likely have questions about the process and likely outcomes. Below are commonly asked questions and their answers.
What factors do Maryland courts consider when determining child custody?
The courts, judges and magistrates always put the needs and best interests of the child or children first. There are several things to consider as you endeavor to come up with a plan for your child or children. You should consider what you are able to provide for your child or children. You should consider any special needs they have. You should consider their education and extracurricular activities. In short, you should consider where they will best get their needs met.
What is the difference between physical and legal custody?
Physical custody means which parent the child or children live with. This typically means they spend more time and overnights with this parent. Physical custody can be sole, given to one parent, or joint, which means the child will spend time at both parents’ homes.
Legal custody means which parent makes the decisions concerning the child’s education; dental and heath care, including vaccinations; religious upbringing; and other major decisions that affect the child’s well-being. This can be sole, given to one parent, or joint, shared by both parents.
Is a parenting plan always necessary?
Yes, it is. Any time there is a minor child or children involved in a divorce there must be a parenting plan created between the parents. A parenting plan allows the parents to decide how best to spend time with their child or children. Plans can be extremely detailed or give a general understanding of how parenting time and custody will work. Parents (including adoptive parents, legal guardians or de facto parents) can work together to create a plan or create one with the assistance of their lawyers. If no plan is created or the parents cannot come to an agreement, then a judge or magistrate will decide the terms of custody.
Can I modify a Maryland child custody agreement?
Absolutely. If both parents agree to the changes, this is typically a smooth process. But to protect both parties, changes must be in writing. In some cases, both parents are not amendable to the change. However, there are viable reasons for needing to amend a child custody plan. A major life change for one spouse, such as a marriage or job change, can mean that the custody plan will also need to be changed. Speak to your attorney about whether the reason for your change is viable and the steps you need to take to make a modification to the plan.
Get Answers To Your Specific Child Custody Questions
If you and the other parent cannot agree on parenting plans and timeshare (visitation) issues, Jeff Greenblatt can help. Children are the most important parts of our lives. Decisions about where your child will live and when they will see each parent will have long-term effects, both positive and negative, so it is important to consider this carefully. Jeff will work with you to create a reasonable plan that works. Call 240-406-7311 or send Jeff an email, and he will get in touch with you.