Child custody disputes are a complicated part of family law. The legal standard for granting custody is that the order be in the best interests of the child. As you might imagine, this gives judges in custody cases considerable discretion. When deciding custody issues, judges will consider factors such as:
• Fitness—Do the parties seeking custody have any physical or psychological limitations that will affect their ability to care for the children? This can include a variety of characteristics, including disabilities, character traits, or even prior abuse charges.
• Location—The judge will consider where the parties live in relation to the child’s school, social circles, and extended family.
• Family Relationships—Which party is best able to help the child develop relationships with extended family members?
• Abandonment or Surrender of Custody—Is there a history of one parent leaving or having extensive separation from the child?
• Age, Health, and Gender of Child—The judge will take these facts into consideration to determine if they should have an impact in the custody agreement.
• Child Preference—Judges use considerable discretion when it comes to child preference. It’s important to understand that it’s not always easy for a judge to rely upon a child’s preference. Age, maturity, and other factors often make it difficult for a judge to consider a child’s stated preference.
The experienced child custody attorneys at Ortega Law, LLC, have successfully represented clients in Anne Arundel County and surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Prince George, and surrounding counties throughout Maryland. Joshua and Windy Ortega have experienced firsthand the intricacies of child custody cases and will help communicate your unique situation to the judge to help you and your children get the best possible outcome.