Child Custody And Support Lawyer Advocating For Clients And Their Children
No parent facing a divorce wants to think of losing access to their kids or hurting a relationship with them. At Peeples Law, we understand just how important your children are to you, and we treat these issues just as seriously as you do.
When you work with our firm, you can rest assured that we strive to reach peaceful, workable child custody solutions that preserve relationships and keep children out of the fray.
The Basics Of Child Custody
There are two types of custody in Maryland: legal and physical. Legal custody is each parent’s right to make major decisions on behalf of their children such as religious upbringing, medical care and education. Divorcing parents often share joint legal custody, but not always.
The other type is physical custody, which refers to how much time each parent gets to have the children in their care. Physical custody can be shared 50-50, given to one parent alone or given primarily to one parent with the other having visitation rights.
Legal and physical custody does not need to be awarded in the same manner.
How Is Child Custody Awarded?
In all custody decisions, courts are instructed to make decisions in the best interests of the children. Often, that means keeping both parents actively involved in their children’s lives if both parents are fit. But it doesn’t necessarily mean equally shared custody.
Thankfully, Maryland does not favor mothers or fathers in custody matters. Instead, it weighs each parent’s ability to care for the children and each parent’s history of and willingness to advocate for the best interests of their kids. This could include:
- Time spent with them on enjoyable and enriching activities
- Willingness to work with the other parent and support the children’s relationship with the other parent
- Willingness and ability to provide a safe, stable and loving home atmosphere
- Each parent’s work schedule, weekly hours and flexibility
- How often each parent must travel for work and how long they will be away from their kids
- Any other factors deemed relevant
Child custody agreements can be reached through mediation/negotiation or they can be litigated. Most of the time, negotiation/mediation gives each parent more control over the final outcome and reduce the risk that children will be exposed to unnecessary levels of conflict.
As in most states, child support in Maryland is calculated based on a formula. The main factors considered are each parent’s income, how many children need support and what percentage of physical custody each parent has.
Because the calculation is formulaic, it is critical to ensure that the information being considered is accurate and reflective of the reality of your situation. If you will likely be asked to pay child support, for instance, we will need to ensure that your income is being reported accurately. That includes accounting for fluctuations in overtime, weekly hours and other factors that could impact pay.