The factors the judge must consider in a Maryland custody case are sometimes called Taylor Factors
You should know them by heart and plan your case around them. Here is how you find them.
The way laws work is that they originate from two principle sources. The first is statutory law. An example of statutory law is where someone might point to a citation and say it is located in the Maryland Annotated Code section XYZ etc. This citation is a section of a book, within a set of books, that spells out a particular law. It is a pretty simple matter for a person to go to a law library, sit down with the book and read it.
The other type of law is called “common law” or “case law.” That means there may not be a particle statute in a particular law book. Instead, there is a court decision which sets forth the law or the principal in question.
An example of common law would be if someone says that (insert a case name) supports their desired position. Citation of such common law is Smith v. Jones, XXX Md. XXX 19XX for example. In the case of the Taylor factors, the case citation is Taylor v. Taylor, 306 Md. 290 (1986)
It is a little bit of a challenge for non lawyers to locate cases or case law. It is also a very tricky matter to make sure that the case you locate is still the most up to date decision on the subject or principal you wish to argue. For example, Taylor has been followed up upon exhaustively but is still valid. Not all cases are.
This brings us to the Taylor factors. The Taylor factors are custody factors that Maryland says a judge needs to consider before rendering a custody or visitation decision. Now that you know about case law versus statutory law they are sometimes the same.
For example, in an alimony decision the Maryland Family Law Courts are presented both statutory prerequisites (or factors) as well as scads of cases. The chicken or the egg comes to mind because the statutory factors have been supplemented over the years. Sometimes, the legislature adds something because they like the latest court decisions. Sometimes, the legislature adds something because they don’t.
The following link will take you to Taylor v. Taylor: http://www.leagle.com/decision/1986596306Md290_1578.xml/TAYLOR%20v.%20TAYLOR
Remember there are important cases in addition to Taylor like Montgomery County vs. Sanders, 38 Md. App. 406 (1977) The Taylor factors taken in conjunction with Sanders are known as the Taylor Factors.
|From Frederick County Maryland|
1) Capacity of the parents to communicate and to reach share decisions affecting the child’s welfare
2) Willingness of the parents to share custody
3) Fitness of the parents
4) Relationship established between the child and each parent
5) Preferences of the child
6) Potential disruption of the child’s social and school life
7) Geographic proximity of the parental homes
8) Demands of parental employment
9) Age and the number of the children
10) Sincerity the parents request
11) Financial status of the parents
12) Impact on state or federal assistance
13) Benefit to parents and
14) Other factors
Montgomery County v. Sanders Factors:
1) Fitness of the parents.
2) Character and reputation of the parties
3) Desire of the natural parents and agreement between the parties.
4) Potential of maintaining natural family relations.
5) Preference of the child.
6) Material opportunities affecting the future life of the child.
7) Age health and sex of the child.
8) Residence of parents and opportunity for visitation.
9) Length of separation from natural parents.
10) Prior voluntary abandonment or surrender of the child or a child
So now that you know the factors the judge must consider you can prepare your case accordingly. If you have a lawyer, you can save money, and look really smart, by knowing the Taylor factors. If your lawyer does not know what the Taylor factors are, you might want to help him/her out.
Tim Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place
|From Child Custody Attorneys for Frederick County Maryland|