Who Has Custody If Parents Are Unmarried?
When parents who are no longer together have differing opinions on raising their child, coming to terms in an amicable manner can be frustrating and challenging for everyone involved. If the parents are not yet married, this can be an additional point of complication. An experienced lawyer who understands how to resolve family law cases so that a parent’s rights are upheld and the child’s best interests are protected. If you are in need of legal assistance and are involved in a child custody dispute, a respected child custody lawyer such as one from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can support you and protect your rights as an unmarried parent.
Types of Custody
There are two parts to child custody in the state of Maryland: legal custody and physical custody. Both types of custody can be given to one or both parents. As long as both natural parents are deemed fit to care for and raise their child, Maryland law grants both legal and physical custody and the law does not favor one parent over another. Custody is broken down in the following ways:
- Legal custody. Legal custody refers to which parent can make important decisions in their child’s life, such as what school they attend, what religion they’ll be raised under, and their health.
- Physical custody. Physical custody of a child refers to which parent the child will be living with.
Who Can Pursue Custody?
When both parents are not married, the mother and father can each pursue custody of their child. In order for a father to pursue custody, they must provide proof of paternity in family court.
What Factors Are Considered in a Custody Dispute?
The standard of “best interests” of a child is evaluated by a judge in family court. There are many factors they may consider, such as:
- The child’s age
- The child’s preference
- The length of the parents’ relationship
- The child’s physical and mental health needs
- The strength of the relationship the child and parent have
- Whether a parent has a stable stream of income
- Whether a parent has a history of substance or domestic abuse
- How well the parent can cooperate with the other parent
- How the custody arrangement impacts family ties
It is important that you work with a highly experienced child custody lawyer who will properly and fairly make a case for your parental rights and protect your child’s best interests. Contact a trusted lawyer now for a consultation.