Nothing is more important in your life than the future of your children. Family courts in Frederick agree with this sentiment as any decision that the court makes must keep the best interests of a child at heart. As a result, any court hearing that deals with the question of child custody is extremely important.
Courts have great power to rule on the issue of child custody. These rulings have the full effect of the law and can determine the child’s prospects for years to come. In addition, child custody is not a one-dimensional issue, and courts can make rulings concerning both physical custody and the right to make decisions concerning how to raise that child.
A Frederick child custody lawyer could help you fight for what is best for your child. A dedicated family lawyer can fight for custody during divorces in cases where you and the other parent were never married, and even work to modify existing child custody orders.
The Two Versions of Child Custody
When most people think of child custody, they imagine where that child will live on a day to day basis. This is the classic definition of physical custody. Courts often order that the two parents split parenting time as is best for the child. This can result in plans where the parenting time is split down the middle, or situations where one parent has the child during the school week while the other takes weekends. There are also many other variables.
The other form of custody is legal custody. This is the right to make major decisions concerning that child’s future. Common issues that arise concerning legal custody include where the child goes to school, the child’s medical care, and the child’s religion.
In both forms of custody, the court may grant joint/shared or sole custody. The most common position is joint/shared custody where both parents share access and rights to make decisions regarding their children. A seasoned Frederick child custody attorney could help divorced parents understand the different forms of custody that play into child custody cases.
When May a Child Custody Modification Motion be Appropriate?
According to Md. Code, Family Law §5-203(d)(1), courts must make their decisions concerning child custody in the best interests of the child. This forces the court to take a snapshot in time concerning the fitness of parents and the needs of a child. However, there are certainly situations where a child’s needs change or when a parent’s ability to provide a good home is in jeopardy. If this is the case, either parent can move for the court to modify an existing child custody order.
To achieve this outcome, the moving parent must demonstrate that a material change in circumstances that affects the welfare of the child has occurred since the original order went into effect. Examples include but are not limited to, a parent losing a job, suffering a criminal arrest, or a relocation by one of the parents.
The moving parent must also demonstrate that the change in the order he/she is seeking will be in the best interest of the minor child. This is a difficult burden to meet, but a skilled child custody lawyer in Frederick could help parents to modify existing child custody orders.
Consult with a Frederick Child Custody Attorney Today
Anytime that two parents of a child no longer live together, the court strives to implement a child custody plan that serves the best interests of that child. This takes priority over the wishes of either parent. These hearings can be the result of a divorce, a separation, or even between unwed parents.
Courts have great power in these cases to rule on matters concerning both physical and legal custody. While the court will assume that both parents have equal rights to their children, instances of past violence or abuse can result in a change of custody. It is imperative that you seek a Frederick County attorney to assist you in proving your case in court.
A Frederick child custody lawyer could help you to make these arguments. They can work to protect your interests in the future of your child during all divorce, separation, or custody battles in Frederick family courts. They can also help to move for any modifications to existing child custody orders that may be appropriate. Contact a Frederick child custody lawyer today to learn more.