Columbia Child Custody Lawyer
Columbia Family Lawyer Assisting Clients with Child Custody Cases
Any situation involving child custody in Columbia, Maryland can get contentious and complicated. Many child custody cases arise when the parents decide to get divorced, but child custody matters can also occur between unmarried parents when there is a dispute between over who will make important decisions about the child’s upbringing or how each parent will spend time with the child. Maryland law guides courts in making decisions about child custody, including both legal and physical custody.
If you are facing a child custody dispute, it is extremely important to have an experienced advocate on your side. A Columbia child custody lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA can discuss your situation with you today.
Understanding Legal and Physical Custody in Columbia
Maryland law recognizes two different kinds of child custody:
- Legal custody; and
- Physical custody.
Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, but it does not refer to the time that a parent spends with the child. Physical custody, differently, refers to the amount of time that the parent spends with the child. The following are all possible custody scenarios when there are two parents involved in a custody dispute:
- Joint legal custody and shared physical custody;
- Sole legal custody and shared physical custody;
- Joint legal custody and sole physical custody; and
- Sole legal custody and sole physical custody.
In situations where one parent has sole physical custody, that parent is referred to as the “custodial” parent and the other parent is referred to as the “non-custodial” parent. When one parent exercises sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent still may be entitled to visitation.
Best Interest of the Child Standard for Determining Columbia Child Custody
Maryland courts use the best interest of the child standard for determining whether parents will have joint custody. In determining whether joint custody is appropriate based on what is in the best interest of the child, the court looks at many different factors, including the following:
- Capacity of parents to reach shared decisions about the child’s welfare;
- Willingness of parents to share custody;
- Fitness of the parents;
- Relationship established between the child and each of the parents;
- Child’s preference;
- Potential for disruption of child’s social and educational life;
- Geographic proximity of the parents’ homes;
- Parents’ employment demands;
- Age of the children;
- Number of children;
- Sincerity of parents’ request(s) for joint custody;
- Financial statute of the parents; and
- Impact on state or federal assistance.
Prior to issuing a final custody order, courts typically issue an initial custody award that takes into account similar factors as those outlined above, as well as other issues such as abuse or abandonment.
Learn More from a Columbia Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody cases can be extremely difficult for all of the parties involved, from the parents to the child. A dedicated and compassionate child custody attorney in Columbia can get started on your case today. Contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA online or by calling our Columbia office at 410-964-0050 for more information about the services we provide to families in Maryland.