If you are like most Maryland parents considering a divorce, you probably hate the idea of sharing custody with your ex. Needing to see them every few days, not knowing what they will say or do around your children and hearing about them involving new people in your children’s lives are all common concerns.
You may worry about whether you will be able to move on emotionally when you still have to see your ex all the time. The idea of asking for sole custody can seem appealing. You will know that you can spend as much time as you want with your children, and you won’t have to worry about juggling custody exchanges or dealing with your ex. Is it possible for you to get sole custody of your children?
Why do you want full custody?
Before you try to develop a strategy for securing sole custody in your divorce, you need to honestly assess your circumstances. What is your motivation? If it is a desire to limit your own discomfort or interactions with your ex, your perspective on the matter may require some adjustment.
In Maryland, as in most other states, the most important consideration for the courts will be the best interests of your children. They want custody decisions to benefit your children and their developmental needs. In fact, when they see parents trying to alienate or push away their ex, it might negatively affect how the courts view that parent.
Only scenarios where you can clearly show that your custody preference comes from concern for your children will typically affect how the courts choose to split up custody.
When do the courts award sole custody to one parent?
The goal of custody rulings is to create a parenting plan that reflects the best interest of the children. The courts typically do their best to give both parents a share of physical and legal custody so that they remain actively involved in the lives of the kids.
However, if one parent’s involvement would be detrimental to the children’s health or development, the courts might limit that parent’s access to the children after the divorce. If you have medical, legal or personal evidence that shows a history of abuse, serious chemical dependence, health concerns that limit parenting abilities or significant instability, that could help you in your quest for sole custody.
Police reports, medical records, and even photos and videos taken on your phone of injuries from explosive encounters could help substantiate your allegation. If you intend to push for sole custody in your divorce, you will need to start planning early and to connect with support what will likely be a contentious process.