Child Custody Lawyers in Bel Air, Maryland
Children need both parents during and after a divorce
It is important to remember that children need both parents even when their parents are divorcing. Child custody refers to the legal and practical rights over a child — including where the child lives and who makes the decisions. Our Bel Air divorce attorneys have 49 years of combined experience keeping everyone focused on reaching results that are in the best interests of your children.
The child custody lawyers at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have an in-depth understanding of Maryland custody law. We work out parenting plans and represent mothers and fathers seeking custody through negotiated settlement or, if necessary, litigation. Our custody attorneys also handle modifications to custody agreements.
Types of custody
Maryland child custody law awards custody in terms of the child’s best interests. The best interests of the child usually require the participation and cooperation of both parents. Child custody describes the legal relationship between a parent and a child and is defined in the following ways:
- Physical custody ― Who the child lives with or who has the day-to-day care of the child.
- Legal custody ― Who makes decisions regarding the well-being of the child in terms of health, education, religious upbringing and safety.
- Joint or sole custody ― This applies to physical and legal custody. Joint custody involves the participation and cooperation of both parents and sharing responsibility for all aspects of their child’s upbringing. Sole custody is when one parent has all the responsibility for legal and physical custody of the child
Third-party visitation and custody
Third parties, like grandparents, stepparents and the domestic partners of the biological parent, often want to continue the relationship they have developed with a child through regular contact through visitation or custody. The court considers the biological parent’s visitation plan to be what is in the child’s best interest. However, if a third party wants to change this, they must demonstrate either parental unfitness or exceptional circumstances. The court then considers what is in the child’s best interests. Our Bel Air divorce lawyers guide you through this process.
Child custody agreement modifications
Custody can be modified if there is a significant change of circumstances affecting the child, such as a parent in the military who goes into active duty, a change in a parent’s work schedule or the parent’s relocation. But the court will not change a child’s routine without good reason.