The bond between a father and his child is crucial for a child’s well-being. Frustration and conflict can build if you do not have access to your children or are worried about their welfare. A Maryland fathers’ rights lawyer stands ready to advocate for you and your children, to protect the valued father-child relationship.
Sometimes you may feel that the law favors your child’s mother, but a thorough understanding of your rights can empower you to make changes. Let our team of family attorneys focus on your rights as a father and provide a pathway to what you need and deserve.
Rights Protected Under Maryland Law
Fathers have a right to custody and support of the children. Courts will not assume that a mother should have custody. Instead, a judge looks at a myriad of factors when shaping the custody arrangement. In the best scenarios, the parents agree about custody, which involves decision-making and where the child resides.
Different Types of Custody
There are two main categories of child custody. Legal custody involves decision-making about the child’s education, health, religion, and general welfare. Physical custody refers to the right to have the child reside with a parent who oversees day-to-day needs. Some subsets further define custody arrangements:
- Sole Custody: One parent has primary physical or residential custody of the children
- Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share in decision-making equally
- Shared Physical Custody: The child or children reside with each parent for a percentage of time
As these scenarios can be confusing, a consult with a Maryland attorney who understands the full range of possibilities can advocate for the custody arrangement that supports a child’s best interest and protects a father’s legal rights.
Every child has the legal right to financial support from both parents. Maryland law uses Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of child support each parent owes. The guidelines base support on a shared income model which depends on the number of overnights the parents spend with the child and each parent’s income and the percentage of time that the parent has physical custody. Other factors such as health insurance and childcare costs are included when applying the guidelines.
If a father has sole physical custody of a child, he is entitled to support from the mother, depending on the parties’ incomes. Even in shared arrangements, courts will consider the amount of time a child physically resides with a parent.
When Fathers’ Rights Are Violated
If the parties are divorced, there may be a Marital Settlement Agreement that dictates the terms of custody and support. If a mother fails to meet her obligations to provide support, or anything else related to the child’s welfare, a father has a right to file an appropriate motion in court. A court may then provide the appropriate sanctions and relief, like a modification of the final judgment or an order compelling action by the mother.
When parents have never been married, a father may have to establish paternity to assert his rights to custody and visitation either by signing an Affidavit of Paternity or seeking a court order compelling genetic testing. Once a father has established his rights, a lawyer in Maryland could advocate for the same rights as a divorced father.
More serious issues arise in high-conflict situations where a mother may allege violence or abuse by the father. These are serious matters that can jeopardize custody, visitation, and decision-making for children. A local attorney could zealously advocate for fathers in these unfortunate situations.
How a Maryland Fathers’ Rights Attorney Can Help You
You may experience significant distress if you do not have rightful access to your children. Sometimes your child’s mother might make important decisions without consulting you. These actions increase tension and frustration and could prohibit the growth of a healthy father-child connection. A Maryland fathers’ rights lawyer can help you secure those rights. Call our team for a consultation to support your most valued relationship.