One of the first things an experienced attorney will consider in a case is how far the client lives from the other party. When it comes to physical custody, the geographic proximity of the parties will often be a major factor in how the custodial arrangement will function. From a physical custody standpoint, if the parties live closer together, it’s more likely that they will have relatively equal time with the children. In these situations, parents can sometimes use a “week-on-week-off schedule.” This allows the children to spend one week with one parent and the following week with the other, making for an. equal, 50/50 access schedule. You may notice some deviations, but over the year, the number of overnights each parent has with the children is relatively equal.
In other situations, the parents may live far apart from one another. In order to preserve routine and stability, the child may spend an extended period with one parent before spending an extended period with the other. For example, if one parent lives in Florida while the other resides in Maryland, this creates a polarizing custody situation where the child can’t be in two places at once. Let’s say the child goes to school in Maryland. In that case, they will reside primarily with the parent who lives in Maryland. Therefore, the Maryland parent would spend most of the school year with the child. However, during major holiday breaks and summer vacations, the child will often get more time with the parent who lives in Florida.
Does The Child Have Any Input In Legal Or Physical Custody Matters In Maryland?
In Maryland, the child’s preference will only be considered if they are of an appropriate age to have reasoned judgment. If the Court believes that the child is old enough and can have an informed opinion about the issues, then the court may consider the child’s preference. Yet still, even if the Court does consider the child’s input, this is only one of many factors of the case.
Will The Court Consider The Potential Future Needs Of The Child And How That Could Impact Who Should Have The Physical Or Legal Custody Down The Line?
The Court will usually look at the circumstances as they are at present. The reason is that the Court, in most cases, cannot make decisions based on what may or may not happen in the future. Suppose there’s a definite set of circumstances that are certain to occur within the near future. In that case, the Court may incorporate future changes into the Court’s decision and reference that. For example, if the two parents go to trial while living nearby but one party will inevitably move out of state in three months, then the Court will consider that factor. The Court may fashion a ruling that accounts for the future move, so the parties don’t have to return to court in 3 months.
The same type of reasoning will apply to the future potential needs of the child. If the Court believes a significant change in circumstance will undoubtedly be occurring shortly, it may consider that while fashioning its ruling. However, for the most part, the Court will only analyze the currently existing circumstances. If the potential change in circumstances are merely “possible” or speculative, the Court will not fashion its ruling based on such potential changes.
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