Maryland Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents
When it comes to child custody for unmarried parents, the laws in Maryland are somewhat similar to the laws for married couples with children. Either the mother or the father can pursue custody. The only stipulation is that fathers must establish paternity before they can pursue custody.
According to MD Fam L Code §5-3A-06, a parent’s paternity can be established in the following ways:
- Being named on the child’s birth certificate
- A written declaration of paternity that the other parent doesn’t object to
- A genetic test
Unless a judge rules that one parent should have sole custody, both the mother and father are assumed to have equal rights to the child under MD Fam L Code §5-203. Although both parents have equal rights, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you automatically get joint custody.
The following factors can impact whether a parent is awarded custody of the child:
- Mental and physical fitness
- A history of abuse
- The distance between the parents’ homes
- Prior abandonment or surrender of custody
- Ability to maintain family relationships
In many custody cases, applying the standards listed above will result in both parents being awarded some form of joint custody. However, it is important to note that one parent might end up being awarded more custody or decision-making responsibilities if the other parent falls short of the best interest standard.
Talk to Our Child Custody Attorneys in Annapolis
Do you have more questions about your custody rights as an unmarried parent? Do you need help pursuing custody of your children? Then contact our experienced lawyers to discuss the details of your case to find out what options you have under the law. We are committed to serving clients throughout the state of Maryland, and we are prepared to put our skills to work for you today.
Call (410) 593-0040 to set up a free consultation with the attorneys at our law firm.