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Steven J. Gaba
Phone: 301-738-7770

Child custody dispute may interest Maryland parents

Maryland parents know just how challenging child custody disputes can be. An interesting child custody case in another state reveals the fine line that judges and parents must walk when negotiating what arrangements may be in the best interests of a child. The child custody dispute seemed to center around a woman's desire to limit her children's exposure to certain religious beliefs of her husband that suggested a woman should defer to her husband in certain matters. The judge made some comments that could be construed as agreeing with the woman, which caused some to question whether the judge allowed her personal beliefs to interfere in her decision on the custody arrangements.

In the judge's ruling regarding the three children the couple shared, she awarded the mother with primary custody. The father promptly appealed the judge's decision, citing her personal statements along with other factors leading up to the ruling against him. However, an appeals panel made up of three unrelated judges ultimately maintained the other judge's decision.

The panel didn't believe that the judge's personal opinions regarding the religious aspect in the case impacted her ability to make an impartial decision regarding custody. One legal expert offered the opinion that the father's position was not helped by the fact that his attorney failed to object to the judge's statements while the original hearing was taking place. As it stands now, the mother will retain primary custody of the three children.

When a child custody dispute arises in Maryland, it can be difficult for all parties involved. Those parents who feel that a judge acted improperly in handing down a decision may have a basis to appeal. However, it will ultimately be up to a state's appeals court to rule on whether a judge acted inappropriately or not. Parents may benefit from gaining a full and accurate understanding of Maryland law, along with case law that could help bolster their position.

Source: StarTribune.com, "Bible verse prompts appeal of Stearns County child custody case," Jeremy Olson, April 11, 2013

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