You may have been married happily for a long time and your family consists of you and your spouse and a child whom you share. However, perhaps, somewhere in time the marriage was no longer a source of joy for you and the rest of your family. The only way to make things better, from your perspective as well as from the perspective of your spouse, was to divorce. However, because there is a child involved, it is more complicated than two people simply walking away from each other.
In such a situation, there are other issues that you and your spouse need to work out that are in the best interests of your child. One of those issues is child custody. It is possible that you did not really understand what child custody is and how it will affect you as one of the parents of the child. There are many details that you and your spouse will need to work out together and come to an agreement so that your child has the best life that they can possibly have with two parents who are not living together any longer.
The difference between legal custody and physical custody
The parent who has legal custody of the minor child has the power to make decisions on behalf of the child. These are long-term decisions about health, religion, education, care, welfare and other important decisions that come up related to the child.
Physical custody has to do with where the child will live and how much time they will spend with each parent. Physical custody is defined as child access and visitation, which you will define in your custody agreement as part of your divorce before it is finalized.
How do you start a new child custody case?
You may not know where to begin when it comes to the child custody portion of your divorce. If you feel that you should be the parent to have custody over the child, you will need to complete a Complaint for Custody (CC-DR-004) form, which is a form that requests of the court that you are granted custody of the child. You will need to file the form in the Circuit Court where the child resides or where either parent lives.
If you don’t get a response within a reasonable amount of time, you can ask for a finding of default. If the court believes that the processing time was appropriate, it will issue an order of default. This will allow the custody case to be heard without the other parent being present.
Valuable legal advice from a Maryland attorney
If you are trying to determine custody of your child, the experienced advice of a Maryland family law attorney may make a big difference in your case. Custody cases are often complicated and having an attorney by your side to walk you through the process and to help you to protect your rights is essential to your case. What you want to achieve is for your child’s needs to be met fairly and you can accomplish this with the right attorney by your side.