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Seeking sole custody can lead to a serious custody dispute

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Our Maryland readers have probably seen previous posts here that mention that it is almost always better for the parties in a divorce - and for the courts - when an out-of-court agreement is reached regarding child custody. Child custody determinations can be one of the messiest issues in a divorce, so when the parties are able to reach their own agreement it saves the court from going through the incredibly difficult process of determining what type of arrangement is the in the best interest of the child.

Unfortunately, there are situations where the parties are going to fight out their custody dispute in court. This may be hard for everyone involved, from the parties to the judge to the lawyers involved, but sometimes it is necessary. This is particularly true when one of the parties believes that the other parent is a danger to the child.

It is a sad reality that there are some parents who have an abusive relationship with their soon-to-be ex-spouse - and that abuse can carry over to the relationship with the child as well. And, in other cases, one of the parents may have a drug or alcohol issue that the other parent believes could present a potentially dangerous situation for the child when left in that parent's care. Whatever the reason, sometimes it is necessary for one parent to fight for sole custody.

Awarding sole custody to one parent over another is almost always a last-resort option for the courts. Most judges want to see some type of joint custody, even if the child is going to reside primarily with one parent over the other. But, if a parent determines that they need to fight for sole custody, they better be prepared to convince the judge that there is a very good reason for that type of arrangement.

Source: americannewsreport.com, "Getting Sole Custody of Your Child in Maryland," Feb. 18, 2014

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