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Helping shed some light on the all-important issue of child custody -- II

Last week, our blog published the first post in an ongoing series dedicated to providing divorcing parents with insight into how child custody works here in Maryland.

Our goal in doing this is not just to provide these parents with a better understanding of what is admittedly a complex legal process, but also to give them some much-needed peace of mind about the divorce issue that matters most to them.  

The different custody arrangements

Last time, we discussed how the court will be called upon to make decisions concerning both legal custody and physical custody when divorcing parents are unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution.  

We also began discussing how there are a multitude of possible child custody arrangements that can ordered by the court in these cases.

Some of these arrangements may include:

  • Sole legal custody and sole physical custody - The child's primary residence will be with one parent while the other parent may be granted visitation. The parent with sole physical custody also has sole authority to make important decisions related to the child's welfare.
  • Joint legal custody and sole physical custody - The child's primary residence will be with one parent while the other parent may be granted visitation. Both parents have authority to make important decisions related to the child's welfare.
  • Joint legal custody and shared physical custody - The child has two primary residences, spending a minimum of 35 percent of their time with each parent. Both parents have authority to make important decisions related to the child's welfare.

Best interests of the child

Maryland courts use the "best interest of the child" standard in custody decisions and consult a list of factors, none of which are assigned more weight than others, when determining what is actually best for the children.

Some of these factors include:

  • The roles played by the parents, including that of primary caregiver
  • The fitness of the parents, including their mental and physical capabilities
  • The child's age and health
  • The history, if any, of abandonment or the length of separation
  • The preference of the child

We'll continue this discussion in future posts.

Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you have any questions or concerns relating to child custody, as they can explain the law, outline your options and take action.

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