Every year, the attorneys at Lebovitz Law encounter many questions about child custody in Maryland. In this two-part blog series, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions we hear on a regular basis. If we don’t answer your question below, please contact us today to schedule a consultation for your specific needs.
What Are the Differences Between Joint Custody and Single Child Custody in Maryland?
Maryland has two separate types of custody, legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody is the ability to make major life decisions on behalf of a minor child, including significant medical treatments, religious affiliation and education. The most common types of legal custody are sole legal to one parent; joint legal custody where the parties require an agreement before making a decision or joint legal with tie breaker authority-wherein after a full discussion of the issue at hand one parent has the right to make a final decision. At Lebovitz Law, LLC we work with clients to help resolve these issues. Legal custody issues tend to involve issues of which school district the minor child shall attend, whether to be prescribed medication, medical treatment and what activities the minor child may be enrolled in to name a few.
Physical custody refers to which parent has physical custody of the minor children. Sole custody occurs when one parent has physical custody and the other parent only has physical custody if visitation rights are involved. Shared physical custody occurs when both parties contribute to the child’s expenses and each parent has a minimum of 128 to 182/183 overnight visits over the course of the year.
When Is Child Custody Decided?
Custody orders can be made at several places in the process. Depending on how your case moves forward, temporary child custody orders could be made at an emergency hearing, scheduling conference, court appearance or a hearing. The final decision on child custody in Maryland will always be completed at the last hearing or trial. It’s important to remember that custody is modifiable, and if both parties can agree on a custody arrangement, the court will probably accept that agreement and use it as the basis for the final order.
When Can Custody Be Modified?
If you are interested in changing your arrangement, you can file a Complaint to Modify Custody at any point with the help of a lawyer. However, the agreement will only be changed if you can conclusively show a material change in circumstances and that custody modification is in the interest of the child. Because the court requires a strong case to approve a modification, you should always work with a lawyer to file your complaint.
Answering Your Questions About Child Custody in Maryland
The sooner in the child custody process that you contact an experienced lawyer, the better. Lebovitz Law can assist you in preparing for hearings and other court filings. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.