I recently tried a custody matter in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, in which I represented the father of the minor child. The father came to our office in January 2010, after he had arranged for his minor child to reside with him upon learning that the child’s mother was not properly caring for him. The minor child had resided with his mother for nine years, but she had recently changed residences, which our client had great concerns about. Prior to January 2010, our client, who resides in a neighboring state, was visiting with the child every other weekend, when the parties were on good terms. After our client made arrangements for his son to live with him, the mother filed a Complaint for an Emergency Hearing, which was scheduled for March 2010 at the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Due to a heavy docket we were sent to mediation and a hearing was not held. We were able to negotiate a temporary schedule which granted our client temporary sole physical and legal custody and allowed the mother visitation with the minor child.
The case was then set in for a final custody hearing, which was held in November 2010. At the final hearing, both parties were seeking sole legal and physical custody of the minor child. However, after evidence was presented regarding the parties respective living situations, stability, fitness, ability to maintain relationships for the minor child, and economic status, among other factors, the Judge awarded our client sole legal and physical custody of the minor child with visitation to the mother of the child. The factors that were considered are in line with those named in our October 23, 2009 blog, which details factors considered in custody disputes.
My goal was to present to the Judge that our client had a stable residence, steady and gainful employment, good relationships with both sides of the child’s family (maternal and paternal), made education and the mental health of the child a priority, instituted and maintained consistent discipline techniques, he was an active participant is the child’s daily routine and was able to provide a life that would be in the best interest of the child. Although the child had resided with his mother up until January 2010, I presented evidence that demonstrated that it was not in the child’s best interest to continue to reside in Baltimore County with his mother. Additionally, the Judge awarded child support to be paid to our client, in light of the evidence I presented demonstrating the mother of the child was voluntarily impoverishing herself, or in other words, she was not working, but was able to do so. In this case, the Judge imputed the mother a minimum wage income.
For further questions regarding custody disputes contact an experienced Maryland custody attorney.