Determining Child Custody in Carroll County Circuit Court
Navigating Carroll County child custody proceedings can be difficult. Arming yourself with the right lingo can help you understand the process in the Carroll County Circuit Court.
Legal Custody v. Physical Custody
“Legal custody” refers to the authority to make decisions related to the minor child. This includes decisions related to the child’s education, religion, medical treatments, etc. It also means the right to have access to these records.
“Physical custody” refers to the child’s physical presence. Meaning, with whom the child resides. A parent granted physical custody is also known as the “custodial parent”.
How does the court award child custody in Carroll County?
Before the Carroll County Circuit Court can make a determination related to custody it must consider multiple factors.
Capacity of the Parents to Communicate and to Reach Shared Decisions Affecting the Child’s Welfare
This factor is perhaps the most important factor. If the Carroll County Circuit Court finds that the parents do not have an open line of communication or the sufficient maturity to discuss issues related to the child, the judge may decide that joint custody is not the best option.
Willingness of Parents To Share Child Custody
Although the willingness of a parent to share custody is considered by the Carroll County Circuit Court, judges are usually unwilling to grant to either parent the “veto power” to prevent a joint custody award.
Fitness of Parents
This factor takes into the consideration the psychological and physical ability of either parent to care for a child.
Relationship Established Between the Child and Each Parent
The relationship between the child and the parent is paramount in allowing the Carroll County Circuit Court to understand the significance the relationship with the parent has to fulfilling the child’s needs.
Preference of the Child
The Carroll County Circuit Court can consider a child’s preference if they find that the child has the sufficient age and capacity to form a rational judgment. If the Carroll County Circuit Court finds that the child does have the sufficient age to express his or her preference, the Carroll County Circuit Court can weigh this factor among the others.
Potential Disruption of Child’s Social and School Life
The Carroll County Circuit Court considers how the award of joint custody may affect the child’s day-to-day activities. In doing so, the Carroll County Circuit Court consider whether the disruption of a joint custody award will have a negative impact on the child.
Geographic Proximity of Parental Homes
The proximity of the parental homes facilitates a joint custody award because it minimizes the disruption to the child.
Demands of Parental Employment
The demands and flexibility of the parents’ employment are central to their ability to share custody.
Age and Number of Children
The age and number of children is weighed against the pressures a single parent may face in a joint custody award.
Sincerity of Parent’s Request
The parents’ ability to co-parent and share custody is an important factor to consider before making a determination. Furthermore, the Carroll County Circuit Court looks at whether the parent’s willingness to enter into a joint custody agreement is not motivated by other factors unrelated to the best interests of the child.
Financial Status of The Parents
This factor looks at the parents’ ability to financially provide necessities for the child. If a minor child splits time between two homes, this requires each parent to provide separate sets of furnishings, toys and clothes.
Impact on State or Federal Assistance
A parent’s ability to qualify for certain state and federal assistance could be effected by a custody award.
Benefit to Parents
Although the Carroll County Circuit Court is fundamentally concerned with the best interest of the child, the effect a custody award may have on a parent is a factor to consider because a parent’s feelings is likely to have an impact on the child.
The Carroll County Circuit Court can consider other factors when deciding custody.
It is important to note that the Carroll County Circuit Court is ultimately focused on the best interests of the child, and their ability to live and have access to stable, nurturing home environments. It often helps to consult an attorney when beginning child custody proceedings.
Schedule a free Carroll County Child Custody Lawyer consultation
The Law Office of Ross W. Albers is located in Westminster, Maryland. Carroll County Family Law Attorney Ross W. Albers is a former Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney. Carroll County Family Law Attorney Singleton Mathews is a former divorce and child custody law clerk.