When two people share children here in Maryland but are not in a relationship with one another, they often have to come to an agreement about how to handle parenting. There are numerous factors that influence a child custody agreement, so no two plans will be alike. However, there are several questions that parents may want to ask themselves that can help them determine their arrangements for child custody.
Working for the good of the children
If parents are able to work together on a custody agreement, the first point they’ll consider is what they want that to look like. Joint physical custody means that the child will live with each parent on a set schedule. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having equal input on how the child is raised. On the opposite end of the spectrum is sole custody, where only one parent has legal and/or physical custody of a child. If parents are not able to work this out on their own, a court may have to step in and decide what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
In either scenario, parents or the court will examine the existing arrangement from the marriage. If one parent already serves as the primary caregiver and has a strong bond with the child, while the other has neither, the first parent will likely have primary or sole custody. However, the court may consider the child’s desires when appropriate. This is even the case in custody disputes where the two parents are not married to one another, or another family member or caregiver seeks to obtain custody.
Child custody deserves careful consideration
Determining child custody can be an involved process that many Maryland parents find overwhelming. This is where the assistance of a professional, such as a family law attorney, may be invaluable. For parents who want to create a new or modify an existing agreement, an attorney can work to find a fair resolution for all involved, especially the children.