CHILD CUSTODY, VISITATION & SUPPORT
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN MARYLAND
Child custody and visitation is another important part of the divorce proceeding.
When contemplating which parent should get primary custody the Court must reach a decision that is “in the best interest of the child.” There are several major facts that the Courts will consider before awarding primary custody to one parent or the other:
- parents ability provide for the child,
- continuity of primary caregiver,
- lifestyle and conduct of parents,
- mental and physical health of parents,
- child’s age and preference. Stability of the environment is key.
In previous years under the “tender years” doctrine the Courts were able to award primary custody to the biological mother for children who were 5 years of age or younger; however, most Court’s have eliminated this rule. Now the fitness of both parents must be reviewed by the Court before awarding custody, and even if the biological mother is awarded custody, fathers have more say in their children’s lives after the dissolution of marriage.
For couples who are not married, the custody will most often be awarded to the biological mother. If the father of the child is not listed on the birth certificate he will be required to file a petition and prove the paternity. The name of the father however can be added to the birth certificate if the parent contacts Bureau of Vital Statistics in which the birth took place. It is very hard, if not almost impossible, for the father who was unmarried to the mother to win custody if the biological mother is considered a good parent. However, the father will still have priority over other relatives (i.e., grandparents), foster parents, or others who wish to adopt the child.
CONTACT OUR FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS FOR HELP
The Burton Firm in Prince George’s County and Charles County is an experienced family law firm where the attorney-client working relationship is the basis of the law practice. Family law attorney in Maryland Aubrey Burton, Jr., applies knowledge, experience and zeal when advising and representing clients. Call or e-mail our law firm to schedule a consultation.
The Emancipation of a Minor
The emancipation of a minor refers to freeing a minor (anyone under the age of 18) from parental control. Maryland law allows for either partial or complete emancipation. Complete emancipation means the child is completely eradicated from parental control whereas partial means the child is free for a certain time or for some special purpose or from a part of a parent’s rights. There are generally 4 ways in which a minor may be either completely or partially emancipated.
- The first is that the minor reaches the age of majority, which, in the state of Maryland, is 18 and considered an adult.
- The second is when certain situations occur, such as marriage or entering the military. Members of the military are subject to government control and husband/wife generally have duty to support each other.
- The third one is due to misconduct by a parent such as parental abuse, neglect or failure to support the minor.
- The last one is if a parent, formally or informally, agrees to give up some parental control. For example, a parent might consent to allowing a child to establish a separate household or a parent may force the minor to leave and support themselves.
Emancipation of a minor does not have to be formal and does not have to go to court. For example, a minor may move out of the parent’s house and be self-supporting. On the other hand, there may be other situations in which the parent and/or child may want to seek court approval of their agreement. The legal procedure isn’t entirely clear though and seeking assistance of a family law attorney in Maryland may be the best route. Courts will look at a variety of things like the facts presented, your goals, the child and parent in addition to past cases for references. Maryland does not allow a minor to go to court on his or her own to request emancipation.
CONTACT FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN MARYLAND FOR HELP
The Burton Law Firm understands how divorce can affect you and your family’s life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of divorce cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak to a family law attorney in Maryland.
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Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of family law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.