Children, Support, and Property

Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse?

Whether or not maintenance, or alimony, will be awarded to either party in a given case will depend on the specific facts of each case. The court uses a specific set of factors in determining alimony. It is important to note that alimony in Maryland can be classified in three different groups: pendente lite alimony, statutory alimony, and indefinite alimony. Alimony pendente lite is alimony awarded to a dependent spouse that is only meant to continue for the duration of the case, until a final order is entered. The purpose of pendente lite alimony is to maintain the status quo between the parties as much as Read more

When can I modify custody?

A Complaint to Modify Custody can be brought at any time, however in order for it to be successful there must be showing of both a material change in circumstances and that modification is in the best interest of the child. It should be thought of as a two-step process. First, the petitioning party must prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the time in which the previous custody award was granted. Then, the court will consider whether or not a modification of custody is in the best interest of the child.

When will child custody be decided?

An order regarding custody can be made in several ways and at different times in the process. Depending on the course of the case, temporary awards of custody could be made at an Emergency Hearing, the Scheduling Conference, a Pendente Lite Hearing, or any other Court appearance. The final decision regarding custody will be made at the final trial or hearing. Important things to note: Custody is modifiable. If the parties can reach an agreement regarding custody, the court is most likely going to accept that agreement and incorporate it into any final order. A temporary determination of custody could be made Read more

When can my child decide which parent to live with?

Custody is never the child’s sole decision, but the court may consider the child’s wishes if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a rational judgment in the matter. The court is not required, however, to speak to the child regarding preference.

If both parents share custody does anyone pay child support?

It depends. Child support is determined by a mathematical calculation set forth by statue. It uses several factors including, but not limited to, who has the physical custody of the child(ren); if physical custody is shared, the number of over-nights each parent has; the gross income of the parties; and the cost of the child(ren)’s health insurance, day care, and extra-ordinary medical costs. Even if there is an award of shared physical custody, there is no guarantee that there will not also be an award of child support to one of the parties.

How is child support determined in Maryland?

Child support is determined by a mathematical calculation set forth by statute.  This calculation process is performed by applying the child support guidelines. It is mandatory in Maryland that in every case where child support is involved, that legislatively mandated child support guidelines be used. The guidelines use several factors to calculate support, including, but not limited to: Gross income of each party; Alimony paid or received in this case; Alimony paid in a separate case; Child support paid in a separate case; Who has the physical custody of the child(ren); If physical custody is shared, the number of over-nights Read more

What is joint custody? What is sole custody?

There are two types of custody in Maryland: legal custody and physical custody. The parties can jointly hold legal custody, or one party may be given sole legal custody of the child. Legal custody is the right to make major life decisions for a minor child, such as education, major medical treatment, and religious affiliation. If both parents have joint legal custody, they both share that decision making right. It should be granted in a scenario where both parents are willing and able to effectively communicate with each other about decisions regarding their child.  In sole legal custody, the party Read more

Who does Maryland favor for custody?

There are no set rules on who will automatically get custody of the children. In Maryland, like many other states, the one ultimate standard in determining custody is what is in “the best interest of the child.” There are statutory factors that the court must consider to determine the best interest of the child.