Practice Areas: Custody and Visitation
Maryland recognizes a distinction between legal custody and physical custody of a minor child. Legal custody is the right and obligation to make decisions relating to education, religious instruction, discipline, medical care, and other matters concerning the child's overall general welfare. Physical custody is the right and obligation to provide a home for the child and care for the routine needs of the child.
Both parents of a minor child are the joint natural guardians of such child. This means that both parents have both joint legal and physical custody. Generally, this joint legal and physical custody continues unless and until a Court makes a decision setting forth what are to be the legal and physical custody rights of each parent as to the child. While there are several variations which the Court could order, the two most common examples of the Court allocating custody include (1) sole legal and physical custody to one parent alone, or (2) joint legal custody to both parents but physical custody to one parent alone. Whichever parent does not have the physical custody is generally entitled to visitation, and there can be several variations which the Court could order.
There are many different factors which a Court would consider in making a decision on custody and visitation. These factors can be numerous, overlapping, interrelated, and complex, but there is no presumption in favor of either parent. The Court may require an evaluation of the parents and parenting classes. The Court will endeavor to make an order that the Court believes is in the best interests of the child. Having an understanding of what facts the Judge is looking for and how the Judge is likely to view the facts helps in being able to present the case to the Judge in a more favorable light for the parent.
It can be quite confusing and complicated. Do you know the law? Do you know how the law applies to the facts of your case? Do you know the procedures you would have to follow, such as what papers to file and the rules of evidence, so that even after you get in front of the Judge you are able to show why you should get what you should get? Shouldn't you find out? Shouldn't you have someone to protect your rights and interests? Only an attorney can do so for you.
Since 1986, Donald J. Arnold has been successfully representing individuals concerning custody and visitation. Mr Arnold is authorized to practice law in all state and federal trial and appeals courts covering Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, with honors, 1986, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year, having passed the Bar Exam on the first attempt. He was admitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit) in 1991, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
For more information or an appointment call (410) 838-2542 or toll free outside Harford County 1-888-808-0449. Mr Arnold prefers initial potential client contact to be by telephone or appointment in person, with use of e-mail being reserved for existing clients after an appropriate attorney-client relationship has been formally established.
Legalese translated into real people talk.