If you and your spouse are parents, child custody may be a strong point of contention in your divorce. You two may have differing opinions on parenting matters, and you may disagree about what an ideal custody arrangement looks like. Yet, if you are having difficulty resolving your custody dispute, you must take a step back and prioritize your children’s needs. This is because any custody agreement you enter into in Maryland must reflect the best interests of your children.
How child custody cases resolve in Maryland
In some Maryland divorces, parents are able and willing to work together to create a custody agreement that reflects their family’s unique needs. If you and your spouse cannot do so, the court may order you to attend mediation. It is possible, though, that you and your spouse may be unable to resolve your custody dispute in mediation. Or, mediation may be inappropriate in your situation if one of you has a history of abuse. In these cases, the court will likely resolve your custody dispute for you.
Determining your children’s best interests
When determining what type of custody arrangement is in your children’s best interests, the court will weigh numerous factors related to their well-being. Keep in mind that, if you and your spouse reach your own custody agreement, the court will also use these factors to determine whether to approve it.
Among the factors the court will weigh to determine your children’s best interests are:
- Whether you and your spouse are both able and willing to encourage your children’s family relationships
- Whether you and your spouse are both fit parents
- Whether you and your spouse are both willing to share custody
- Whether you and your spouse both have the financial resources to provide for your children
- Whether you and your spouse will live near each other – and near your children’s school – after your divorce
- Whether you or your spouse were your children’s primary caregiver during your marriage
- Whether your children, if they are of a certain age or maturity, have preferences about custody
Resolving your child custody dispute may be the most difficult part of your divorce. Yet, by understanding your children’s needs, you can focus on working out a custody arrangement that puts them first. An attorney with family law experience can help you through the process.