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Child Custody in Maryland

Familiarize Yourself with Maryland Child Custody Laws


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Maryland uses several criteria to determine child custody. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Maryland should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Maryland.

Best Interests of the Child

A family court in Maryland determines child custody based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider the following factors in determining a child's best interests:

  • The child's wishes, depending on his or her age and intelligence (generally age 12 or older)
  • Any history of abuse or neglect
  • The child's relationship with his/her parents
  • The proximity between each parents' homes
  • Each parent's ability to encourage and foster a relationship between the child and the other parent and make decisions with one another, concerning the child

Child Custody Petition by a Child

In Maryland, a child who is at least 16 years old may request a change of custody in court. The court will either:

  • Hold a hearing, or
  • Amend the order or decree and place the child in the custody of the parent designated by the child

Military Parents and Child Custody in Maryland

In Maryland, if a custody or visitation arises as a result of the deployment of a single parent, the court will require:

  • The child's other parent to reasonably accommodate the deploying parent's leave schedule
  • The child's other parent to encourage and facilitate opportunities for the child to communicate with the deploying parent by way of the telephone and electronic mail
  • The deploying parent to provide the other parent with the information regarding the leave schedule in a timely fashion

Relocation and Child Custody in Maryland

In a Maryland child custody proceeding, the court may require a party to give the court and a co-parent 90 days notice of the intention to relocate either with or without the child. If a party must relocate in less than 90 days, the court will consider:

  • Whether the relocation is necessary due to financial or other pressing circumstances
  • Whether notice is given immediately following the period of time after learning of the relocation

For more information about child custody in Maryland, speak with a qualified attorney in Maryland or refer to the Maryland Domestic Relations statue.

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