This week, our family lawyers discuss a Maryland man who thinks his fiancée's ex will not show up for the custody hearing and what could happen if that's the case.
The Question:What happens if an ex no shows at the custody hearing?
So my fiancée is looking to get full custody of her child, due to the father being absent. Her child is around 8 months old, and while she's been taking care of her, the father is off doing hard drugs and who knows what else. My main question is, what exactly happens if the father doesn't appear when the court summons him, because I find that being the most likely outcome.
The Answer: Only evidence presented for custody at the hearing can be considered by a judge for custodial rights. The judge would make a decision based on the evidence presented to them.
If an ex doesn't show up to the custody hearing, then they lose out on the opportunity to present a case and evidence for custody.
By no-showing only evidence from the present party is considered by a judge. The judge will make the custody ruling based on the evidence presented to them at the hearing's end.
The custody hearing allows both parties to argue for the type of custody they should be granted. In most cases, that equals split time between the parents, with one as the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. Here, one parent is absent, thus preventing their side of the story from being told.
When only one party participates in the custody hearing, a decision can only be made based on what the judge hears. In Maryland, the judge makes a default judgment against your fiancée’s ex during the hearing since he is not present to provide an argument for his custody rights.
It does not mean the ex is giving up parental rights, so he still has that opportunity to go back to court to modify custody.
Our automatic disclaimer: We're lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We're providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual's attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a "real" response!