Disputes over who should care for children during and after a separation or divorce are almost always emotionally taxing endeavors. What you want and what your child’s other parent want may differ greatly, and the court overseeing your case may agree with one, both, or neither of you about what arrangement would be best for your child.
A seasoned family law attorney from our firm can assist you with resolving these kinds of conflicts. If you seek representation from a Prince George’s County child custody lawyer, you could have a knowledgeable and steadfast ally by your side throughout court proceedings and out-of-court negotiations, working tirelessly on your behalf to pursue a positive resolution to your family’s case.
Types of Custody Available in Prince George’s County
Custody of a child in the eyes of the family court system revolves around two separate but related concepts: legal and physical custody. The former refers to the right a parent has to make major decisions on their child’s behalf including but not limited to their education, religious upbringing, and medical care; while the latter determines where the child lives on a day-to-day basis.
Generally, courts in our area believe that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child, thereby giving them each an equal say over important decisions in their child’s life. The courts also believe that it is in the best interest of the child to spend as much time as possible with both parents; therefore, shared physical access is preferred, meaning that the child spends at least 35 percent of their time with either parent.
Various factors and circumstances may lead a local family law judge to decide the legal and physical custody arrangements in the child’s best interests. A local attorney can help any parent in the Prince George’s County area seeking a favorable child-sharing arrangement to advocate for their desires in this and other types of situations.
Identifying the Best Interests of the Child
The core and guiding principle that all local courts follow when making decisions regarding child custody is the “best interests of the child” standard. This standard requires that any custody arrangement must prioritize the welfare of the child over anything else, even if that arrangement contradicts the parents’ wishes or a prior agreement they made regarding the custody of their child.
A variety of nonexclusive factors will be considered by the court when determining what a child’s best interests are, including but not limited to:
- The physical and psychological fitness of both parents to care for the child
- Pre-existing family relationships
- Who the child’s primary caregiver has been historically
- The child’s age, gender, and health
- How a certain place of residence would impact visitation rights for another parent or party
- Any prior history of abandonment, addiction, or abuse by one or both parents
- The child’s preference, if they are old enough to grant it based on the court’s discretion
While a particular result cannot be guaranteed, a child custody lawyer can work on behalf of a local resident to ensure their wishes and input are factored into the court’s decision as much as possible.
Speak with a Prince George’s County Child Custody Attorney
Child custody proceedings are very often difficult to get through, and trying to go through your case alone could put you at a significant disadvantage. When discussing the needs and best interests of your child or children, it is always best to keep a cool head while negotiating – and the easiest way to do that is often to have a neutral party negotiate on your behalf.
A Prince George’s County child custody lawyer can provide constant counsel and support throughout your entire custody case. Schedule an initial consultation by calling today.