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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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My daughter is 6yrs old and residing with me in MD since she

Customer Question

My daughter is 6yrs old and residing with me in MD since she was born 2008. My bf is from IA and had visisted us once a month until 2013. We both have signatures on her birth cert. Now I want to have full custody of my daughter. He wants to fight back.
What is the percentage he could win the case?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I'll be happy to assist you.
I assume there is no child custody order currently in palce, correct? Also, I assume your boyfriend is the biological father, correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That's correct. I just filed the custody complaint to get full custody few weeks ago. And he hired a lawyer to fight it back.
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
The judge will start with the presumption that involvement from both parents is best for the child. The judge will look at a set of factors (below) and determine what sort of custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. What the judge will decide is something I can't reasonably answer, without knowing the entire situation and the particular leanings of the judge. I can say, however, absent a compelling reason, you can expect the boyfriend to get some amount of custody. Usually, that is every other weekend, alternating holidays and two weeks in the summer. Of course, the judge can change that at his discretion, but that is the standard. 50/50 custody is very difficult in a situation like this where the parents live in different states and the child is enrolled in school. One parent (usually the one with more custodial time) is the parent who gets to make medical, religious, etc. decisions for the child. In this situation, that would likely be you.
Also, keep in mind that the judge will alslo order that the parent with less custodial time pay the other child support.
The paramount consideration in any child custody case is the "best interest" of the child. The factors the court considers include, without limitation, the following:
1. Fitness of the parents, namely, the psychological and physical capabilities of both parents, including any conduct and characteristic of a parent which may reflect on the parent's ability to care for a child and which may have an adverse impact on the welfare of a child. Although the fact of adultery or sexual relationships with others may be a relevant consideration in child custody awards, no presumption of unfitness on the part of the adulterous (or homosexual) parent arises from it; rather it should be weighed, along with all other pertinent factors, only insofar as it affects the child's welfare.
2. Character and reputation of the parties.
3. Desire of the natural parents and agreements between the parties. The court may modify any provision of an agreement between parents with respect to the care, custody, education or support of any minor child of the spouses, if the modification would be in the best interests of the child.
4. Potentiality of maintaining natural family relations.
5. Preference of a child where the child is of sufficient age and intelligence to form a rational judgment, but such child's wish is certainly not controlling.
6. Material opportunities affecting the future life of the child. This does not mean that a parent who is poor or otherwise not able to provide many of the comforts of life is thus not to be granted custody. This factor is not so significant absent related facts showing parental unfitness, such as a child not being properly taken care of by its parents within their means or where the financial situation (e.g., parent unable to hold down a job) has made the custodial situation completely unstable.
7. Age, health and sex of the child. The "maternal preference" doctrine whereby a child of tender years was presumptively better off with the child's mother was abolished in Maryland.
8. Residences of parents and opportunity for visitation.
9. Length of separation from the natural parents.
10. Prior voluntary abandonment or surrender.
The following additional factors are particularly relevant to determining the appropriateness of a joint custody award:
11. Capacity of the parents to communicate and to reach shared decisions affecting the child's welfare. This is clearly the most important factor in determining whether an award of joint legal custody is appropriate and is relevant also to a consideration of shared physical custody. If the parent's track record is one of inability to effectively communicate on matters involving the child and there is no strong potential for effective communication in the future, joint custody is not warranted. If the evidence demonstrates the parents do not share parenting values and each insists on adhering to irreconcilable theories of child rearing, joint legal custody is not appropriate.
12. Willingness of parents to share custody. However, this does not give a parent veto power over the possibility of joint custody. A caring parent who believes that sole custody is in the best interest of the child may aggressively advance that position throughout litigation, but still be willing and able to fully participate in a joint custody arrangement if that is the decision of the court.
13. Fitness of parents, i.e., psychological and physical capabilities of both parents.
14. Relationship established between the child and each parent.
15. Preference of the child. The reasonable preference of a child of suitable age and discretion should be considered.
16. Potential disruption of child's social and school life.
17. Geographic proximity of parental homes.
18. Demands of parental employment.
19. Age and number of children.
20. Sincerity of parent's request. (Has one parent requested joint custody merely to gain bargaining leverage over the other in extracting favorable financial or property concessions?)
21. Financial status of the parents. The court must consider the financial burden of maintaining two homes for a child.
22. Impact on state or federal assistance.
23. Benefit to parents, to the extent that any such benefit to the parents is likely to redound to the ultimate benefit of the child.
24. Other factors. A trial judge should consider all other circumstances that reasonably relate to the issue of joint custody.
25. Another factor that has appeared in Maryland custody cases is a parent's religion and the child's religious upbringing to the extent it impacts the child's physical or emotional welfare. It has to be clearly shown that a parent's religious practices have been or are likely to be harmful to the child before the court will interfere with those religious practices.
26. Evidence of abuse by a party against: the other parent of the party's child; the party's spouse; or any child residing within the party's household (including a child other than the child who is the subject of the custody or visitation proceeding) may be considered as a factor bearing on the welfare and best interests of the child.
I hope that answers your question. If not, feel free to ask follow up questions. If so, please remember to "Rate" my answer before you go. Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, most of those factors I could have read online sources and it is for a general case. I just want to know specific in my case as I stated in my question. He's in Iowa state since she was born, and stop visiting her since 2013. What is the chance he could win the case to take her away from me.?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
It is very difficult to give you the chances since I don't know how all of the other factors are weighed. Clearly, however, the fact that the child has always lived with you, is presumably enrolled in school in MD and has very little contact with Iowa, the odds are heavily in your favor. Again, that is based on the information you've given me and not the total circumstances.