Complex Child Custody & Support in Silver Spring, MD
Family matters involving children are difficult. Specializing in child support, custody, and visitation, Law Offices of Steven T. Greenblat
in Silver Spring, Maryland
, is ready to help you through the complicated process to come to a resolution.
One of the most difficult issues to resolve is the issue of child custody. This includes where the child will live and who shares in the important decisions about the child's health, education, and general welfare. The standard by which the Maryland Courts determine custody is what is in the best interest of the child. This often goes against what parents believe is best.
Joint Legal & Joint Physical Custody
Joint legal custody means that both parents will share in the major decisions regarding the child's health, education, and welfare, but the child will reside with one parent who has the physical custody of the child. This means that the noncustodial parent will have rights of visitation, and the obligation of paying child support until the child reaches the age of 18 years.
Joint physical custody encompasses joint legal custody, but goes one step further by having the child reside equally with both parents. The child support obligation will reflect the amount of time the child spends with each parent. This type of custody arrangement is not commonly awarded unless the family can demonstrate a strong ability to cooperate with each other.
Sole custody means that the child lives with the sole custodial parent. That parent has the sole responsibility for the decisions regarding the child's needs.
When one parent is awarded the physical custody of a child, the other parent is almost always granted visitation rights. Under normal circumstances, the courts promote liberal visitation, but are willing to order a specific schedule, enumerated in the smallest detail if necessary. If one parent is deemed unfit for visitation, the courts can order that visitation be supervised, or in rare instances, denied.
Understanding Child Support
In Maryland, child support is based almost exclusively on the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. The gross monthly income of both parties is added together and a chart is used to determine the amount of the child support obligation.
An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties have agreed to all the issues. It normally can be completed in three to four months.
A contested divorce, on the other hand, is one in which the issues related to child custody, support, and visitation and/or the division of marital property must be resolved. It is impossible to predict the total cost of a contested divorce.
It becomes contingent on the complexity of the issues, the property value, and the income of the parties Sometimes appraisals and economic evaluations become necessary. In custody disputes, there may be additional costs for psychological, educational, and medical evaluations for children and parents.
In Maryland, any property acquired by one or both parties during the marriage is marital property. This means that property acquired up to the date of the divorce is marital and can be claimed by both parties.
Marital property does not include property obtained prior to the marriage or property received by inheritance, or by gift from a third party. In a divorce, the marital property must be ascertained and then appraised for its fair market value. Once this is done, the court will try to divide the property equitably between the parties.
Martial Property Consists of:
- Tangible Personal Items
- Real Property Pensions
- Professional Business Practices
- Ownership in Stock or Other Corporate Interests
- Vacation & Insurance Benefits
Alimony is available to a spouse who needs financial assistance from the other spouse in order to meet his or her living expenses, and often, the living expenses of the parties' children. It is applicable when one spouse was responsible for the care of the household and children while the other spouse earned all or most of the family income.
When parties separate under these circumstances, the court may award alimony for a period of time, which allows the nonworking spouse to establish an independent source of income. In some circumstances alimony can be awarded permanently.
Contact attorney Greenblat to make a legal matter involving child custody and child support less stressful.