Divorce can be a complicated process for couples, particularly when children are involved. One of the most crucial concerns for parents is determining who will have custody of the children. That is why it is essential for parents to understand Maryland’s stance on this matter, as the law governs what happens in these circumstances and each parent’s rights. 

child custody maryland

Who Will Get Custody of the Children?  

In Maryland, there are no set rules that determine who will automatically get custody of a child. The law presumes that both natural parents are responsible for their children and does not favor one parent over the other. As a result, either parent can file a petition in court for custody. If the parents cannot reach a consensus about custody arrangements, the court will grant sole custody to one parent or shared custody between both parents. However, the law in Maryland prioritizes the child’s best interests when it comes to awarding custody. 

What Does Best Interest of the Child Mean in Maryland? 

When determining custody, there are several factors that the courts in Maryland consider: 

  • Reputation, Character, and Finances: The court will look into each parent’s community standing, moral character, and finances to determine whether they can provide a stable environment for the child. 
  • Existing Agreements: The court will review any existing agreements about a child’s custody and upbringing, as well as look into both parents’ wishes.  
  • Disruptions: The court will review the effects of a custody decision on a child’s life, including their education and social interactions.  
  • Visitation: The court will review each parent’s living situation and determine how it impacts interactions with the child.  
  • Separation Duration: Custody decisions can also be influenced by a child’s time away from either parent and how this separation can impact bonds.  
  • Child’s Characteristics: The court will look into a child’s specific needs based on overall health, gender, and age.   

However, because each custody case is unique, reviewing your specific situation with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney can provide further insight into these factors and how they can impact your custody.  

Different Types of Child Custody 

There are two types of custody in Maryland: legal custody and physical custody: 

Legal Custody 

Legal custody is the right to make significant life decisions for a minor child, including education, health care, and religious affiliations. If both parents have joint legal custody, they collaborate on these decisions. However, the court usually grants this custody if both parents are willing and able to effectively communicate with each other about decisions regarding the child. If a parent has sole legal custody, they will be responsible for these decisions.  

Physical Custody 

Physical custody is related to where the child resides. Like legal custody, parents can have shared joint physical custody, or one parent can be granted sole physical custody, and the other parent can receive visitation.  

Contact Rice Law Today To Review Your Options 

If you want to know more about Maryland’s child custody laws or better understand your options when going through a divorce, contact Rice Law today and discuss your questions with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney.