Child custody is an important determination in any divorce. For that reason, parents confronting child custody concerns during their divorce should be familiar with how child custody is determined in Maryland.
How child custody is determined
Child custody is based on the best interests of the child. It is important for the family law court and parents to determine what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child usually suggests a focus on a child custody arrangement that will best provide for the child’s growth, development, safety and security.
Factors used to determine child custody
Several factors are used to determine what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Child custody factors can include:
- The child’s relationships with their siblings;
- The need for consistency and continuity in the child’s education, community connection and family life;
- Which parent is most likely to care for the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental and education needs;
- Which parent is most likely to maintain a stable, loving, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child.
The family law court will consider any factor it considers relevant to the child’s best interests and will give more weight to factors that impact the child’s safety and wellbeing. The child’s wishes are not considered when evaluating child custody decisions in Maryland.
Parents are encouraged to resolve child custody concerns based on what is in the child’s best interests but the family law court can help when parents are unable to reach a child custody arrangement. To do that, parents should be familiar with how child custody is determined where they are.