Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between legal and physical child custody?
Legal custody refers to decision-making rights in regards to the child’s upbringing, including decisions relating to the child’s education, religion, and healthcare. Parents may share joint legal custody and make these decisions together, or one parent may have sole legal custody and have the right to make such decisions independently.. Physical custody refers to when the child sleeps at each parent’s home. Sole physical custody is when one parent has the child in his or her care most often, and the other parent has visitation. Shared physical custody is when one parent is the primary parent, and the other parent has at least 128 overnights with the child each year. Equal physical custody is when the parents have an equal number of overnights with the child. The goal is to agree upon a physical custody schedule that is in the best interest of the child.
What factors do courts consider when awarding alimony?
The courts will be looking at several things to determine if one party should receive alimony from the other, and in what amount.
TITLE 11. ALIMONY
Md. FAMILY LAW Code Ann. § 11-106 (2017)
§ 11-106. Award -- Determination of amount and duration
(a) Court to make determination. --
(1) The court shall determine the amount of and the period for an award of alimony.
(2) The court may award alimony for a period beginning from the filing of the pleading that requests alimony.
(3) At the conclusion of the period of the award of alimony, no further alimony shall accrue.
(b) Required considerations. -- In making the determination, the court shall consider all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award, including:
(1) the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
(2) the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
(3) the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
(4) the duration of the marriage;
(5) the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
(6) the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
(7) the age of each party;
(8) the physical and mental condition of each party;
(9) the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party's needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
(10) any agreement between the parties;
(11) the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
(i) all income and assets, including property that does not produce income;
(ii) any award made under §§ 8-205 and 8-208 of this article;
(iii) the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
(iv) the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
(12) whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in § 19-301 of the Health - General Article and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.
(c) Award for indefinite period. -- The court may award alimony for an indefinite period, if the court finds that:
(1) due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, the party seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting; or
(2) even after the party seeking alimony will have made as much progress toward becoming self-supporting as can reasonably be expected, the respective standards of living of the parties will be unconscionably disparate.
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