Maryland Custody and A Child’s Best Interest
Case: Ross v. Hoffman, 280 Md. 172 (1977).
In this case, the court awarded custodyof thechildto parties who were not related to thechild, even over the protest of the child’s natural mother. The mother appealed and the Court of Appeals upheld the decision that the mother is denied custody. The court had a few reason for allowing the custodians to maintain custody rather than returning the child to the biological mother. The mother had been separated from the child since the childwas around four months until the childwas about eight years old. During this separation, thechild became strongly attached to the custodians. While the mother began to show a desire to regain custody, there had been a lapse of some eight years before the mother mad any attempt to reclaim thechild. The stability of mother’s household was uncertain in light of her new marriage, and there were questions as to real motive of the mother in seeking custody. All of these reasons supported the court’s decision to award custody to the custodians rather than the child’s natural mother.
Even though a parent has a legal right to their child the court found that granting custody to the custodians was in the child’s best interest and therefore the court granted them custody over the child’s natural mother. In addition to this ruling, the required the natural mother to pay to custodians the child support money that the mother was receiving from from thechild’snatural father.
Child custody is an issue which the court is given a large amount of discretion to decide. They are required to focus on the best interest of the child, and all the factors that have or will play a factor in this interest. While the courts do not enjoy removing or keeping a child from his/her biological parents, in the end the best interest of the child must come first.
Fred Antenberg is a Family Law Attorney and represents individuals in Family Law cases, in Howard County, Md and surrounding counties. He can assist you in custody battles and many other areas of Maryland Law. If you have custody issues or any other family law or legal concerns, call Fred today at 410-730-4404.