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

In today's post, we'll continue our ongoing discussion of how child custody works here in Maryland and the issues that may come into play during what is arguably one of the more difficult aspects of divorce.

As always, our objective is to teach divorcing parents more about this multi-faceted legal process and grant them some peace during understandably tumultuous times.

Understanding more about joint custody

While it may seem difficult to believe, there are circumstances in which divorcing parents can come together to reach some sort of amicable agreement whereby they will essentially share both legal and physical custody.

In these types of arrangements, the child won't necessarily have a "primary residence" with one parent and visitation time with another, but rather will spend a significant amount of time living with both parents.

Furthermore, as we discussed earlier, the parents will also work together to make decisions relating to their child's health, religious upbringing, education and other important issues.

While a joint custody agreement is frequently beneficial to all parties, it's important to understand that it will be carefully vetted by the courts to ensure that such an arrangement is even feasible and, more importantly, in the child's best interests.

To that end, some of the factors that might be considered by the court include:

  • The relationship between the parents and their willingness to share custody
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The parent's overall fitness to care for the child
  • The child's preference
  • The proximity of the homes where the child would live
  • The sincerity of the parents regarding the arrangement

We will continue to discuss this topic in future posts, including the all-important topic of modification. In the meantime, consider consulting with a skilled legal professional if you would like to learn more about joint custody or have general concerns about child custody matters.

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