Among the many other important decisions that must be made during a divorce, coming to terms regarding child custody can be especially difficult. Even when both parents aim to make decisions that are in the best interests of their child, they may differ on what exactly that means.
The more information you have about child custody in Maryland the better prepared you will be to present your case. Here are a few common questions and answers to help prepare you for your day in court.
How are custody claims filed?
Custody claims are initiated when you file a specific document with the circuit court where the child and parents live. The form filed is the Complete a Complaint for Custody (CC-DR-004), and you are encouraged to make copies for the other parent. Copies of the complaint must be provided to the other parent by someone other than yourself. This is known as service of process. Upon receiving the document, the other parent must use a separate form, CC-DR-050, to answer the complaint. They must also file a Counter-Complaint for Custody (CC-DR-095) if their desired custody arrangement is different from yours.
Is legal and physical custody different?
Legal custody refers to which parent has the authority to make major decisions on behalf of a child. These decisions can include matters like education, health care, religious observances, and many others. Physical custody refers to where a child lives.
What happens if my ex and I cannot reach an agreement?
If you cannot reach an agreement on your own, your case will go to trial. During your custody trial, both sides will be asked to provide an opening statement, present evidence, and give a closing argument. The court will review this information and make a judgment regarding custody. You can ask for a review of the proceeding if you are unhappy with the decision made by the court.