In a previous post to our website, we discussed how Maryland family courts consider factors that are in the best interest of children whenever making child custody determinations. Although there is no exhaustive list of all of the factors considered, a court is usually going to look at the totality of all of the circumstances related to the care and upbringing of the affected child.
In Maryland, once a court has made its determination regarding a custody or visitation issue, the onus of proving that the custodial parent is not acting in the child’s best interests falls to the other party. In other words, the court will presume that the custodial parent is acting in the child’s best interests until another adverse party, such as the noncustodial parent or grandparents, offers evidence to rebut that presumption.
Generally, the court is going to want some rather compelling proof in order to change the existing arrangements. For example, under Maryland law, a child who is under the age of 8 years old cannot be left unattended at home, at school or in a vehicle. Additionally, any person with custody of a child under the age of 13 who has gone missing has a duty to report the child’s absence to law enforcement within 24 hours. A court may be persuaded that a modification to an existing child custody order may be appropriate after learning that a parent violated either of those regulations.
If you are a Maryland resident who is seeking custody of a minor child, there are a few things you should know. Maryland courts recognize that circumstances that were present when a child custody order was established may not necessarily still reflect the child’s best interests several years later.
Based in Baltimore, our family law office has been assisting clients with child custody issues since 1992. We will help you to examine the particular facts of your case and develop a strategy designed to obtain a favorable child custody result.