One of the most difficult parts of a Maryland divorce to get through is the details of child custody. There are many variations of how the courts may decide how custody and parenting time should be shared between parents. Once custody has been decided, the goal for both parents is, hopefully, that the two are able to co-parent peacefully and agreeably with minimum conflict. However, as a family lawyer Frederick, MD clients trust can attest, it is not uncommon – as the years pass and the child gets older – for that child to announce that they now want to live the majority of the time with the other parent instead of the parent they have been living with.
While your child’s announcement may come as a shock, it is important to understand why your child wants to initiate changes to custody arrangements. These include:
If your child is voicing a desire to change the current parenting plan, contact Peeples Law to discuss what the best legal direction to take in this situation is.
How Much Weight Do the Child’s Wishes Have with the Court?
As a Frederick, MD family lawyer can explain, the law does not state a specific age a minor child must be before their wishes determine which parent they should live with. Instead, the court will consider several factors, along with the child’s wishes, when making the decision of which – if either – parent should have primary physical custody. These factors include:
The family court judge who will decide if the current custody arrangement should be changed may also order a guardian ad litem to interview all pertinent parties before making the final judgment, as well as the testimony and/or opinion of the child’s therapist if they are involved in any kind of therapy.
It is very important for parents to not make any kind of custody changes without first consulting with an attorney and obtaining court approval. If one parent allows the child to come live with them without getting the court’s approval first – and without the other parent’s agreement – they may find themselves in deep legal trouble with the court that could result in contempt of court and penalties. The only exception to this is if the child’s health or safety is in immediate peril. In this situation, contact your family attorney immediately.
For more information regarding your child’s custody, contact Peerless Law to meet with a skilled Frederick, MD family lawyer. Call our office today.