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Parenting Is More Than Physical Presence

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Determining Custody Time In Maryland

As a parent, you do your best to provide for your children and to be active and deeply involved in their life. There was a case in Baltimore in which it appeared that there was a rift between parents. To be specific, the court looked at the case in terms of whether one parent should have physical custody only when he was not tied to work. Including overnights, it is a must that you spend time with your child to cultivate and develop the relationship. However, there are times when there is a need for you to work, which is out of your control. This does not mean that you should lose custody time. An experienced Maryland family law attorney can help you reach an arrangement that helps maintain a strong relationship with your child.

There is no law that limits your privilege to work and have custody time with your child that imposes on parents that they either spend more time with their child at the expense or risk of losing their job or entirely lose custody time. Rather, the law requires that a physical custody schedule be arranged for the sake of the child’s welfare.

Andrew and Felicia have a son. Although they were never married and lived separately, they chose to raise their son together. Andrew had to work at night, while Felicia worked during the day. A disagreement regarding the parental scheduling caused them to battle it out in court. Andrew requested that the court give him at least two overnights with his son. He claimed that although he was required to work during some of those nights, he had his mother and sister to look after his son at least until he came home from work and from there, he could take care of his son as he woke in the morning. This arrangement, Andrew also emphasized, would support his desire for his son to get to know his side of the family.

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With Andrew’s claim, he was able to convince the judge to grant his request. Felicia appealed, arguing that the judge’s decision to grant custody to Andrew while he was at work placed more value on third party rights over those of the natural parent by awarding the paternal grandmother and aunt “de facto visitation and access”. With Felicia’s argument, which was legally incorrect, she lost the appeal. The reasoning is that while Andrew is at work and has his mother and sister looking after his son during the time of physical custody, it does not mean that Andrew’s mother and sister were granted or awarded visitation rights. Andrew’s son is under his custody and remains his responsibility.

Scheduling that supports and helps grow relationships works for the child’s best interests

The trial court will always decide with the best interests of the child in mind. In this case, the judge ruled that having the child spend overnights with his father is in the best interest of the child, even if Andrew’s mother and sister were to watch over his son for several hours. It should also be noted that the court considered that the times during which the grandmother and aunt would be watching over the boy consisted mostly of hours where the child would be sleeping. Having the boy spend overnights at his father’s house with some of his father’s loved ones or relatives will help grow the boy’s relationship with the paternal side of the family.

It bears emphasizing that parenting takes more than a parent’s constant physical presence. Parenting also consists of making decisions about who else gets to spend time with a child, such as when watching television or other recreational activities, what television programs to watch and activities to do, and even what books to read. A parent does not need to be constantly present at all times with their child, so they could claim that they are parenting their child properly and effectively.

For parents, it is very important that you grow your relationship with your children. To grow your relationship with your child, you need to put quality and quantity of time together. For solid advice and to make sure that your custody schedule will truly help grow your relationship with your child, contact us today.

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