Unmarried parents can face a variety of challenges when it comes to custody laws. Whether you are a parent who wants to gain sole or shared custody of your child, we can help you understand the law and what it means for your family. Here’s what you need to know:
What Does Maryland Law Say About Unmarried Parents?
According to Maryland law, both parents have equal rights to the child unless, based on evidence, a judge determines that one parent should, for specific reasons, have limited or no rights. If there is no court order determining rights and custody, the mother and father are considered “joint managing conservators” of their child.
However, before any child custody case moves forward paternity must first be established. Paternity is typically established in two different ways: through birth certificates or genetic testing.
Understanding the nuances of custody laws for unmarried parents can be overwhelming. Working with an experienced family law attorney ensures accuracy and diligence for the best possible outcome.
Will My Child’s Other Parent and I Get Joint Custody?
In Maryland, there are two types of custody to be determined for each child. Physical custody refers to the residence of the child and legal custody refers to decisions made for the child such as education, medical treatment, religion, etc.
Arrangements for one or both parents may include sole physical and legal custody, sole physical and joint legal custody, and joint physical and joint legal custody. Child custody will depend on the circumstances and history of each parent, as well as the interests of the child. Overall, many factors contribute to a determination of child custody.
Elements that contribute to a determination of the best interest of a child include:
- The physical, mental, and emotional ability of the parents to meet the needs of the child.
- History of domestic violence or abuse (current or past relationships).
- History of abandonment or surrender of custody by either parent during this marriage or relationship.
- Ability to maintain family relationships with any other children outside this marriage or relationship who were born before or after this divorce/legal separation proceeding takes place (if applicable).
How are parents’ paternity can be established in Maryland?
In the state of Maryland, the paternity of a child can be established in one of three ways:
- Marital presumption
- Affidavit of Parentage at the time a child is born
- Judicial declaration
Parenting laws in Maryland are based on the best interests of the child. A judge may determine that it is in the best interests of a child for his or her parents to share custody after paternity has been established. When this happens, both parents have legal rights and responsibilities regarding their children.
Talk to the Experienced Family Attorney Team in Maryland
The attorneys at SIEGELLAW are prepared to can help you navigate the complex legal issues involving child custody and visitation. With over 30 years experience, our attorneys will guide your custody case through settlement, mediation, or through court. To learn more about your rights as an unmarried parent, contact the experienced Maryland family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW at (410) 792-2300 or schedule a consultation online.