Joint Custody Agreements

Joint Custody Agreements

Establishing Joint Custody Arrangements in Maryland

Whether you are currently working through a divorce, or seeking to change current custody arrangements, you need professional legal support.During this very difficult and stressful time, an experienced Maryland family law attorney can help to ensure that the custody decisions made are in the best interest of your child.

If you want to speak with a joint custody lawyer in Maryland right now, contact the experienced attorneys at Houlon Berman. We can help you learn more about the specifics of joint custody arrangements, and create an arrangement that is right for your child.

Legal and Physical Custody

There are two different forms of joint custody available and each comes with distinct responsibilities and restrictions.

Legal custody involves the right to make major life decisions on behalf of a child who is a minor. These decisions include education, religion, major medical treatments, and other activities or events that may have a great impact on the child’s life and upbringing.

In the case of joint legal custody each parent must agree to these decisions.

Physical custody regulates where a child lives day to day. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the non-custodial parent must have at least 128 overnight visitations per year or 35% of the overnights.  The Court may order any kind of custody schedule deemed to be in the child’s best interest.

Custody Decisions

Custody can be decided on a temporary or permanent basis at any number of hearings during the divorce process. However, you should remember that these decisions are always open to modification and that a complaint to modify can be brought at any time.

There are two essential components of any potential custody modification.

Material Changes

First, a significant “material change” in the child’s circumstances must be evident. This could be a deficiency on the part of one parent, a negative shift in the living conditions at one home, relocation, or any number of things. The most important thing is that there has truly been a change for the child. You cannot get a modification due to previous existing conditions.

Best Interest of the Child

Second, the modification must follow the golden rule of custody battles; it must be in the best interest of the child. This is the governing principal by which all custody decisions are made. In order to ensure this, a “best interest attorney” may be assigned to represent the child.

Working Relationship

All of this information should underscore how important it is for parents to have a reasonably good working relationship in any joint custody situation.

Former partners with deep philosophical or lifestyle differences may find it difficult to come to terms on many of the decisions that must be made for their children. Also, feelings of bitterness, dislike, or a propensity toward chronic argument are often present after divorce and this can hinder communication and make the situation even more difficult for the children involved.

Consider carefully your ability to work with your former partner to raise your children and consult with a family law attorney as to your best course of action. Something to consider is a collaborative divorce, which can help keep things amicable while also reducing the financial costs and stress often associated with separation and custody disputes resolved in court.

Contact Houlon Berman

The family law attorneys at Houlon Berman are compassionate and understand the difficulty of your situation. With over 40 years of combined experience, they have the skill and knowledge necessary to represent you or your children. Their careful attention to detail and sincere personal approach to law will help you and your family sort out your custody arrangements.

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