Problems surrounding child support can be the most litigious issue in a divorce case.

Frankly, the issue the best resolved if both spouses reach a decision mutually.

In cases concerning child custody in Maryland, one of the most often asked questions is - Do courts in most instances award custody to mothers than fathers?

In the past the practice was to award the custody of children aged 5 or under to the mother.

Child support law firm MD however states that in Maryland there are no set rules as to who will automatically get custody.

The golden rule as in most other states is “the best interests of the child”.

There are factors however that decide what constitutes the best interests of the child.

None of the states decides that custody be awarded to the mother without considering the fitness of both parents.

At the same time we must also keep in mind that child custody never goes to just one parent.

As one MD lawyer pointed out, “Courts usually award joint custody – the sole aim of which effectively is to make the judgment least partial to both the parents”.

Joint custody has 3 shapes:

1. Joint physical custody - A setting where the children spend a sizeable amount of time with each spouse (parent)
2. Joint legal custody – Here parents exercise the legal authority to make major decisions for the child. This can be on medical, religious, or educational grounds.
3. A combination of joint physical and joint legal custody.

Mediation can be a good approach to resolve a child support issue.

In this case a mediator meets with the disputing parents with a view to assist them in making a decision.

Here are a few reasons why this tactic is a better solution:

•You do not need to take a legal course.

•Mediation can help in delivering a settlement of child custody after around 10 hours of mediation.

•The chances of parents cooperating and coming to a decision are higher because the mediator helps them in communicating with each other.

Payment for child support

While handling child support decisions, a key area of contention can be payment of child support money.

An attorney dealing with issues regarding child custody in Maryland says, “Mathematical calculations set forth by the statute determine child support”.

In Maryland, it is imperative that in each case of custody issues, legislatively mandated child support guidelines must be followed.

These include:

•Gross income of each parent
•Child support, if any, paid in a separate case
•Alimony paid in this case
•To which parent is the physical custody given
•If it is shared physical custody
•The various costs to be incurred, including the child’s health insurance, day care or any other

Determining visitation

Whenever the court awards physical custody to one parent, the other parent is allowed ‘reasonable’ visitation rights.

Handling such a situation is not very difficult if both parents cooperate.

Problems arise when the decision translates into perceived less than adequate visitations for the non-custodial parent.

To preempt such issues from cropping up, several courts prefer that both parents must chalk out an inclusive parenting plan that sets the visiting schedule and the responsibilities of each parent.

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