When parents decide to divorce or separate in the state of Maryland, there is an urgent need to determine how they will share custody of their children. If they can’t determine custody on their own, they will need to enlist the help of a judge. The judge will decide on child custody based on a variety of factors. While there isn’t an official, exhaustive list of all the factors that a judge will consider when awarding child custody, take a look at these top five.
1. Fitness of the Parent
A judge will award child custody based on the fitness of each parent. The court broadly refers to parental fitness as the parent’s intention and ability to provide for the child’s basic current needs and those in the near future. Typically, the court assumes parents are fit to parent their children unless there is evidence to dispute it.
2. Character and Reputation of Parties
The court will consider each parent’s reputation and character before deciding on custody. Social media posts, witnesses, and written statements can all be used as evidence to support character and reputation claims. If you or your partner has a good reputation, it’s a good idea to showcase that to the judge during the hearing.
3. Potential of Maintaining Natural Family Relationships
The court knows how important family is, and that’s why they consider the parent’s ability to keep the child in contact with their family. If a parent is trying to move the child away from his or her natural family members, a judge will likely look down on it. That can negatively impact a parent’s probability of getting full custody of the child.
4. Preference of the Child
Every child has the opportunity to voice their wants and needs. Your child can state which parent he or she would prefer to live with. Although their preference is important, it’s not the final decision when deciding on child custody. A judge will simply take this into consideration when deciding on child custody.
5. Prior Voluntary Abandonment or Surrender
If one parent previously abandoned the child or surrendered the child to the other parent, the court will take this into consideration. If a parent has been absent in the child’s life for an extended period of time, it can negatively affect the probability of the parent getting full custody of the child.
Have an Experienced Lawyer Help
Let Alan Billian, PA help with your child custody case. We have over 25 years of dedicated experience and know what to do to increase your likelihood of getting a favorable outcome. Contact us today to get started with a FREE consultation.