Ending a marriage involves dealing with several issues, with one of the most important being custody of the children. You may have worked outside of your home, while your spouse stayed at home and tended to the children. Just because one parent was a stay-at-home parent, that does not mean that they get to be the primary physical custodian after divorce. Although being a stay-at-home parent will figure into the decision of the court about who gets primary custody of the child, there are other legal factors to be taken into account and the court will always look after the best interests of the child. If you were not the stay-at-home parent, do not be discouraged. It does not mean that you won’t get primary custody of your children.
To illustrate a case in which the stay-at-home parent did not secure primary custody of the children, we have the case of Hubert and Annabelle. They began divorce proceedings in 2018. Hubert was an active employee of the U.S. Navy for years, while Annabelle stayed at home to take care of the children. Hubert claimed that Annabelle was having an affair, which Annabelle and the alleged lover both denied. Annabelle accused Hubert of being deeply into porn and internet gaming, saying further that he was an absent parent. Eventually, the court ruled in Hubert’s favor and granted him primary physical custody of the children along with tie-breaking authority regarding decisions about the welfare of the children.
Annabelle appealed the ruling, claiming that it would not be in the children’s best interests to not have their mother, who was their constant caregiver, as primary custodian. She also claimed that the judge unfairly penalized her because of adultery. However, the court still supported the previous ruling, granting primary custody to Hubert. In Maryland, extramarital affairs do figure in custody cases, although there are other factors involved.
You can use your ex’s time as stay-at-home parent as proof to foster your claims
What you can do, which Hubert did, was to cast light on how Annabelle did a poor job being the children’s primary caretaker. Hubert showed evidence demonstrating the frequent tardiness of children to school, the many unaccounted for absences from school, and the problems and issues with grades and homework. Annabelle also took the decision to take the children on vacations, which caused them to miss more schoolwork.
Furthermore, Hubert demonstrated that Annabelle had claimed that she was assaulted during her previous marriages, which were found to be untrue. It then follows that Annabelle was not being credible and along with the adultery bolstered this lack of credibility in front of the judge.
If you have been a “fit” parent to your children in the eyes of Maryland law, you may have the opportunity to be granted primary physical custody of your children, regardless of your not being the stay-at-home parent or primary caretaker during the marriage. If you are heading for divorce and want to make sure your parental rights are recognized and the best interests of your children are met, schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys today. We are here to help you and your children through this difficult time.