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  1. #1
    andsky311 is offline Junior Member
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    Question What are non-custodial parent rights?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland

    I have an 18 month old daughter. Her father and I were only together a short time. His name is not on the birth certificate but legal paternity has been established and he does pay child support. He has a long history of drug and alcohol abust but currently seems to be cleaning up his life.

    His family wanted to be a part of her life and now so does he. I (informally--non court appointed) agreed to supervised (by his family) visitation 1 day a week, every other Saturday (during the day only) and a few hours Thurday afternoons.

    My questions are: What are his legal rights to visitation and custody? If I need to cancel a day with them am I legally obligated to let them make it up? Can he petition for legal visitation or custody? What is the likelihood he would be granted these rights? Will his drug abuse factor in to the judges decision? Do I currently have the legal right to make all the rules regarding his visitation, ie: when, where, supervised or not?

    Thank you.
  2. #2
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Until there is a court order, you basically call the shots. If he asks for a court order outlining his time, he will get it.
  3. #3
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    [QUOTE=andsky311;2194574]

    What are his legal rights to visitation and custody?
    As a legally established parent in maryland, his rights to the child are equal to yours.


    If I need to cancel a day with them am I legally obligated to let them make it up? Can he petition for legal visitation or custody?
    No, becase there is no court order requiring you to do so.

    What is the likelihood he would be granted these rights?
    He will be granted some visitation. Because of the status quo, you will likely get physical custody. Unless you can prove him unfit, legal custody wiill be shared.

    Will his drug abuse factor in to the judges decision?
    Only if you can prove it, and that he is a danger to the child.

    Do I currently have the legal right to make all the rules regarding his visitation, ie: when, where, supervised or not?
    both of you have equal legal rights to the child. You just have a greater advantage because the child lives with. You do not have to allow him visitation if you do not want to if there is no court order. If you are going to allow him to visit, continue to keep it supervised. An order for child support order does not determine custody. Maryland statutes give equal rights to both legal parents, meaning, if you sent the child to him, he could very well keep the child and withold the baby from you, and file for custody. It sounds unfair, but it has happened.
    Last edited by truebluemd; 03-05-2009 at 11:32 AM.
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andsky311 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland

    I have an 18 month old daughter. Her father and I were only together a short time. His name is not on the birth certificate but legal paternity has been established and he does pay child support. He has a long history of drug and alcohol abust but currently seems to be cleaning up his life.

    His family wanted to be a part of her life and now so does he. I (informally--non court appointed) agreed to supervised (by his family) visitation 1 day a week, every other Saturday (during the day only) and a few hours Thurday afternoons.

    My questions are: What are his legal rights to visitation and custody? If I need to cancel a day with them am I legally obligated to let them make it up? Can he petition for legal visitation or custody? What is the likelihood he would be granted these rights? Will his drug abuse factor in to the judges decision? Do I currently have the legal right to make all the rules regarding his visitation, ie: when, where, supervised or not?

    Thank you.
    At the moment, he has no legal rights to visitation and custody therefore if you need to cancel a day you would not be obligated to make it up, because you are not obligated to give them visitation at all. You also have the legal right to impose rules regarding the visitation. Also, there really is no "them" in this equation, its just dad.

    Dad however can file a petition for some form of joint custody and a set, enforceable visitation schedule. Once that happens, the "rules" will be up to the judge or whatever the two of you hammer out in mediation, and that the judge signs off on.
  5. #5
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    At the moment, he has no legal rights to visitation and custody therefore if you need to cancel a day you would not be obligated to make it up, because you are not obligated to give them visitation at all. You also have the legal right to impose rules regarding the visitation. Also, there really is no "them" in this equation, its just dad.

    Dad however can file a petition for some form of joint custody and a set, enforceable visitation schedule. Once that happens, the "rules" will be up to the judge or whatever the two of you hammer out in mediation, and that the judge signs off on.
    I dont agree that she as a legal right to impose visitation rules for dad, but she can call the shots since the child is with her. As I said before, she should closely monitor dad's visitation and keep it under her supervision until a court orders visitation.
  6. #6
    ProSeDadinMD is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by truebluemd View Post
    I dont agree that she as a legal right to impose visitation rules for dad, but she can call the shots since the child is with her. As I said before, she should closely monitor dad's visitation and keep it under her supervision until a court orders visitation.
    Mom here has full "physical custody". Custody(not visitation) has an effect on CS in MD. If CS has been established, and custody/visitation was not addressed, Mom has full physical custody. Period.

    Visitation, legally, until Dad or Mom file with the court(which one or the other should do), is at Mom's discretion(which in the end never seems to work out).

    Why, pray tell, should she "closely monitor dad's visitation and keep it under her supervision until a court orders visitation"?
  7. #7
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProSeDadinMD View Post
    Mom here has full "physical custody". Custody(not visitation) has an effect on CS in MD. If CS has been established, and custody/visitation was not addressed, Mom has full physical custody. Period.

    Visitation, legally, until Dad or Mom file with the court(which one or the other should do), is at Mom's discretion(which in the end never seems to work out).

    Why, pray tell, should she "closely monitor dad's visitation and keep it under her supervision until a court orders visitation"?

    You are right that mom has physical custody of the child literally, but not under any legal statute. Only a court order can do that, because maryland does not have a default custody law like some states do, which give unmarried mothers automatic legal custody. In maryland, when a child is born to unmarried parents, both parents have equal rights.

    Case in point. I met a guy at the courthouse. We were waiting for our cases to be called. He was a "custodial" parent designated by a child support order but not by a custody order. Mom was paying him child support. They were seeing the mother EOW. The father told me her raised them most of their lives. The oldest one was 18 and in college, the other two early and mid teens. One weekend the mother decided not to return the other two switched their schools. She filed for custody. Well whatta you know, she got it, and dad ended up having to pay child support to mom, who now has custody. Yes, it can happen. Child support does not determine custody.

    If I'm wrong I stand corrected, but this is one of a few that I personally know of.
  8. #8
    ProSeDadinMD is offline Senior Member
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    There has to be more to that story than you know.

    In MD, no, CS does not determine custody. However, if Dad has the child less than 128 overnights, and this WOULD have been factored into the CS calculations, then Mom has FULL PHYSICAL CUSTODY. Period(again).

    128 or more overnights is where you move into “shared custody” territory in MD.

    Hell, it’s even on the MD CS calculator.

    [url=http://www.dhr.state.md.us/csea/worksheet.htm]Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program - MDHR[/url]
  9. #9
    andsky311 is offline Junior Member
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    Question Still confused

    So does this mean, I can send her with him and he has the right not to return her? Can I file for sole custody or is it considered redundant because I have physical custody?
  10. #10
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProSeDadinMD View Post
    There has to be more to that story than you know.

    In MD, no, CS does not determine custody. However, if Dad has the child less than 128 overnights, and this WOULD have been factored into the CS calculations, then Mom has FULL PHYSICAL CUSTODY. Period(again).

    128 or more overnights is where you move into “shared custody” territory in MD.

    Hell, it’s even on the MD CS calculator.

    [url=http://www.dhr.state.md.us/csea/worksheet.htm]Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program - MDHR[/url]
    I get your point PS but its not a legal establishment under Maryland Law.

    No where in the guidelines is "full phsyical custody" defined. Its an assumption but not even a legal one...just a literal one based on the existing living arrangements.

    AS far as shared,

    (i) Shared physical custody (1) "Shared physical custody" means that each parent keeps the child or children overnight for more than 35% of the year and that both parents contribute to the expenses of the child or children in addition to the payment of child support.
    (2) Subject to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court may base a child support award on shared physical custody:
    (i) solely on the amount of visitation awarded; and
    (ii) regardless of whether joint custody has been granted.


    Child support can be determined using shared custody guidelines, but it doesnt necessarily determine custody if shared guidelines are used, or if the other guidelines are used. Only a court can legally determine custody. A child support presumes custody only as a basis of determining child support.

    If most people know that, they wouldnt just stand for a child support order. They would file for custody the moment a parent files for child support only. thats probably why most unmarried mothers dont bother tofile for custody. They just go for the child support. Its up to the other parent to file for custody if he/she wants legal rights to parenting time.
  11. #11
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andsky311 View Post
    So does this mean, I can send her with him and he has the right not to return her? Can I file for sole custody or is it considered redundant because I have physical custody?

    If you sent the child to stay with him and he chose not to return, youd have to probably get a court order to get teh child back. The police cannot make him give the child back to you without a court order if they determine he is the legal father. Why? because truthfully they wouldnt know who has custody of the child. A child support order only identifies parents as custodial or noncustodial for the purposes of who pays who.

    If you want dad to be in childs life, and I hope you do, get a court order for custody and visitation. It provides a set schedule but you cant just dictate when and how dad sees the child. Its up to you. Most unmarried parents I find only file for support.
  12. #12
    ProSeDadinMD is offline Senior Member
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    Ok, this should be easy...

    CUSTODY HAS TO BE ESTABLISHED, AT SOME LEVEL, FOR THE CHILD SUPPORT AMOUNT TO BE CORRECT ACCORDING TO MARYLAND GUIDELINES.

    OP, what, exactly, does your order say?
  13. #13
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProSeDadinMD View Post
    Ok, this should be easy...

    CUSTODY HAS TO BE ESTABLISHED, AT SOME LEVEL, FOR THE CHILD SUPPORT AMOUNT TO BE CORRECT ACCORDING TO MARYLAND GUIDELINES.

    OP, what, exactly, does your order say?
    Hearings for child support only do not establish custody. PS you kow custodyis a separate issue from child support. In cases where there is a custody petition that requests childs support, the court will determine child custody first then set child support that may be based on the custody.

    Custody hearings determine child support for whomever is requesting it, whether it is the payor or payee.
  14. #14
    ProSeDadinMD is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by truebluemd View Post
    Hearings for child support only do not establish custody. PS you kow custodyis a separate issue from child support. In cases where there is a custody petition that requests childs support, the court will determine child custody first then set child support that may be based on the custody.

    Custody hearings determine child support for whomever is requesting it, whether it is the payor or payee.
    Only partly right. While they are "separate", the proper amount of CS in Maryland CANNOT be established via court order(unless Mom and Dad jointly submitted a proposal that was signed by the judge) without custody. Period(for the 3rd, and final time).
  15. #15
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProSeDadinMD View Post
    Only partly right. While they are "separate", the proper amount of CS in Maryland CANNOT be established via court order(unless Mom and Dad jointly submitted a proposal that was signed by the judge) without custody. Period(for the 3rd, and final time).
    Oh really. Tell that to my cousin, or co-worker, where custody has never been established, nor have they ever agreed with the other parent on CS, or to the OP. yet, they receive child support based soley on the child support guidelines, excluding the shared guidelines and deviations.


    You are going completely off subject. Who cares about proper amount anyway? That is not the issue here and this is not about "proper amount." You are taking this in a tangential direction and trying to find somehting new to debate about. You have not said anything a 3 time. The first 2 times you were incorrect.

    We were discussing custody. Plain and simple, child support hearings do not establish custody. A custody hearing does. Not trying to debate with you. Your advice here is always respected, but this is an issue of the law, and teh law is the law...ask OG

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