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Does Maryland discriminate against disabled parents?

Many Maryland parents were born with one type of disability or another. While having a disability does not necessarily make one a bad or incapable parent, a recent study suggests that parents with disabilities receive unequal treatment at the hands of courts; the report suggests further that this is a nationwide problem and that Maryland is not an exception to the rule.

Specifically, according to the report, a parent is more likely not to have a court award him or her child custody if that parent has a disability. Those living with psychiatric or intellectual limitations suffer from this disparate treatment the most.

The report seemed not to suggest any specific means of correcting the problem, but it did advocate for further study of those “obstacles” that supposedly stand in the way of equal treatment for those with disabilities

In the mean time, no law in Maryland provides that a person with disabilities is by that very fact not the best parent to care for the children full time following a divorce. Certainly, one could think of cases in which a person’s disability would impact his or her ability to care for children full time; however, in today’s society, people can adapt to their own physical limitations. Many disabilities, particularly psychiatric disabilities, can be controlled with medicine and appropriate treatment.

In Maryland, the sole standard for custody is what is in the best interest of the child, and a court will use a number of factors to determine that. A good child custody lawyer in Maryland will help a disabled client to demonstrate to a judge his or her capability to love and nurture his or her children.

Source: Youth Today, “Discriminatory treatment of disabled parents widespread,” Nov. 19, 2012.

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