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Legal proceedings involving custody of the children are the most contentious and often may result in irreparable emotional turmoil for the whole family. While it is certainly best to attempt an amicable resolution to the issue of custody and visitation because parents are the most qualified to make those decisions on behalf of their children, sometimes this just may not be possible due to the degree of conflict and inability of the parties to productively communicate,. In those cases, decisions regarding the future of your children will be left to a Court, no matter where you are located in Maryland. However, whether decisions are made by the parents themselves or by a court, the best interest of the children is always the primary consideration and all decisions are grounded in that analysis. If you have questions about how to proceed with your case, call Zhanna A. Maydanich to help you. Her experience as a child custody lawyer in Owings Mills, MD  will be invaluable.

What Factors Are Considered When Awarding Custody

The Court will look at a number of factors to determine which custody arrangement will be in the children’s best interest. Determination of custody and visitation is grounded in an analysis of the children’s stability, safety, and emotional well being. To make a final determination of custody the court will consider the following factors:

  • The child’s primary care giver
  • The fitness of each parent to be a primary or shared caretaker of the children
  • Character and reputation evidence presented by each parent
  • The child’s wishes (level of weight for the preference expressed varies with the age of the child).
  • The parents’ ability to cultivate a nurturing relationship with the child, others in the community, and extended family
  • Evidence pertaining to abuse, neglect, or violence
  • Physical and emotional stability of either parent
  • Other factors that may be unique or specific as applicable to each individual matter

What is Legal Child Custody vs. Physical Child Custody

There are two main types of custody, specifically legal and physical. Legal custody in Maryland implies authority over decisions involving the child’s health, education, religion and all important matters that are vital for the child’s overall health, safety and development. Physical custody in Maryland refers to the where the child will live, with whom and which parent will make the daily decisions for the child’s daily needs. Zhanna Maydanich, an experienced child custody lawyer in Maryland will help address your needs and ensure the best interest of your children.

If the parents cannot agree on these issues, then a Court may order physical and legal custody in various ways. The Court may award sole physical custody to one parent and determine that joint legal custody to both parents is in the Children’s best interest. In the alternative, the Court may rule that shared physical custody but sole legal custody to one parent is best. In many circumstances the Court tries to award shared physical and joint legal custody whenever possible. However, this option is seldom available when the parties are unable to co-parent collaboratively. Determining what makes the most sense for your family based upon your unique dynamics is of the utmost importance. At ZM Law Group we work with you to analyze and identify your needs, aspirations and plans for your children and we arm you with the tools and information you need as you move forward in the process. We ensure that you are in the best position possible to achieve your ultimate goal through this process. Call Zhanna A. Maydanich, an experienced child custody lawyer who understands the unique needs of families in Owings Mills, and throughout the State of Maryland.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the child doesn’t want to see the other parent?

When a child expresses reluctance to see the other parent, the court weighs their age and maturity, considering but not solely relying on their wishes. The court prioritizes the child’s best interests, examining the reasons behind their reluctance and seeking professional guidance, such as input from a child psychologist, to inform its decision. Ultimately, the court aims for a resolution that fosters a healthy parent-child relationship while ensuring the child’s overall well-being and development.

What can I do if the other parent has taken the children and refuses to return them?

In the event of a parent abducting the children, prompt legal action is imperative. Immediate contact with law enforcement and the pursuit of a court order for the children’s return are crucial steps. Courts treat parental abduction seriously, emphasizing the well-being of the children involved. Seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney is essential to navigate the legal process effectively and secure the swift return of the children.

Who will be given parental responsibility for children?

Determining parental responsibility involves assessing multiple factors with a primary focus on the child’s best interests. The court evaluates each parent’s capacity to provide a stable and supportive environment, considering the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs. Factors include the level of parental involvement, mental and physical health, and the existing relationship between each parent and the child. The court’s decision aims to create a custody arrangement that promotes the child’s overall welfare and development.

How Do Courts Handle Child Custody in Unmarried Parents?

Unmarried parents navigating child custody proceedings encounter similar considerations to their married counterparts. Courts evaluate factors such as parental fitness, stability, and, most importantly, the child’s best interests. Establishing paternity is a crucial step in this process, and custody arrangements are determined based on what aligns with the child’s overall well-being. Legal guidance is essential for unmarried parents to navigate this complex process effectively and secure a custody arrangement that prioritizes the child’s welfare.

How Do Courts Handle Child Custody in same-sex marriages?

Child custody proceedings for same-sex couples follow the same procedures as those for heterosexual couples. The court’s primary focus is on the child’s best interests, considering factors like parental stability, involvement, and the child’s overall well-being. Marriage equality ensures that same-sex couples receive equal treatment in custody decisions, with the court making determinations based on what aligns with the child’s welfare, regardless of the gender of the parents involved. Seeking legal advice is crucial for same-sex couples to navigate the complexities of the custody process and ensure their rights are protected.

View Areas Served

Baltimore County:

Arbutus (21227), Catonsville (21228, 21250), Cockeysville (21030, 21031, 21065), Dundalk (21222), Edgemere (21219), Essex (21221), Garrison (21055), Lansdowne (21227), Lochearn (21207), Lutherville (21093), Middle River (21220), Milford Mill (21244), Overlea (21236), Owings Mills (21117), Parkville (21234), Park Heights (21215), Pikesville (21208), Randallstown (21133), Reisterstown (21136), Rosedale (21237), Timonium (21093), Towson (21204), White Marsh (21162), Woodlawn (21207), and more.

Baltimore City

Howard County:

Clarksville (21029), Columbia (21044), Cooksville (21723), Dorsey (21075), Elkridge (21075), Ellicott City (21043), Fulton (20759), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Granite (21163), Hanover (21076), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Lisbon (21765), Marriottsville (21104), North Laurel (20723), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Woodstock (21163), and more.

Carroll County:

Eldersburg (21784), Finksburg (21048), Hampstead (21074), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Taneytown (21787), Union Bridge (21791), Westminster (21157, 21158), Mount Airy (21771), New Windsor (21776), Sykesville (21784), Woodbine (21797), Taneytown (21787), and more.

Harford County:

Aberdeen (21001), Abingdon (21009), Bel Air (21014, 21015), Darlington (21034), Edgewood (21040), Forest Hill (21050), Jarrettsville (21084), Joppa (21085), Pylesville (21132), Whiteford (21160), White Hall (21161)

Anne Arundel County:

Annapolis (21401, 21403, 21409), Arnold (21012), Crofton (21114), Crownsville (21032), Gambrills (21054), Glen Burnie (21060, 21061), Hanover (21076), Jessup (20794), Pasadena (21122), Severn (21144), Severna Park (21146).

And the rest of Maryland.

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