Seeking Sole Custody: A Father’s Right

Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today, we will be discussing seeking sole custody, a father’s right.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody is the ability to make choices for your children. It’s the ability to decide who your child’s pediatrician will be whether your child shall go to a religious based school or a non-religious school making determinations for how your child will essentially move through life.

Increasing the Likelihood

There are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of obtaining sole legal custody of your children. One is being engaged, making sure that you’re actively participating and making choices for your children. Two is making sure that you are properly attempting to co-parent with your co-parent. Which means that even if you both disagree you both can communicate with each other in a way that is respectful and productive and child oriented. Three, you might want to again show that you’re willing and you’re capable of making these choices. You want to make sure you’re going to the doctor’s appointments. You want to make sure that you’re going to the parent-teacher conferences. You want to make sure that if it’s time for your child to change schools you know what options available and which options make the most sense and you come to the table with those options. It’s important to show that you are open to making sure that there’s discourse between you and your co-parent and that at the end of the day your child is the number one priority.

Do you have a chance to get sole custody?

I get asked a lot if fathers have the chance or opportunity to obtain sole legal custody of their children and my answer is yes. In Maryland, the playing field has changed. Women do not have a presumption of being the more fit parent in Maryland. Often, we see the judicial officers starting at both parents have an equal right to make choices for these children and both parents have the equal right to have those children living with them. So, you’re starting at equals. The goal is to show that the other parent may not necessarily be the best fit to have sole custody and that you are a better fit to help make choices for your children. So, yes at this point in 2023 and forward you have as much of a right to make choices for your child initially as your co-parent even if you are the father.

What is physical custody?

Physical custody is essentially parenting time. It’s where your child lives, where they stay at night, where they sleep, where they call home.

Increasing the Likelihood

There are several things that increase the likelihood of you being awarded sole physical custody of your children. Again, being engaged. Again, making sure you’re maximizing the amount of time you’re having with the children. Again, it’s if your co-parent is not actually engaged, if you’re co-parent is kind of never watching the children, they’re always somewhere else, they don’t ever want to come pick up the children, they don’t want to spend time with the children, they have absolutely no idea who the dentists are, who the pediatrician is, anything about the school the teachers, their report cards, their grades. It’s making sure that you’re doing all the things that your child needs to thrive and showing that your co-parent is not necessarily up to the task.

Do you have a chance to get sole physical custody?

Yes, the same with legal custody you have a chance you have the opportunity here in Maryland to get sole physical custody of your children. You’re starting at the same likelihood of getting that award as your co-parent and the only thing that’s standing in your way is making sure that you present the evidence needed to show why you should be awarded sole legal and sole physical custody of your children.

If you have any questions about physical custody or legal custody and your right to those types of custody for your children, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.