Various Types of Child Custody in Maryland

Determining child custody is a difficult decision whether it’s due to divorce or as a result of some other type of relationship. Under Maryland law, neither the mother nor father is favored for custody, and both parents are the presumed custodians of their children. This can pose challenges when grandparents or other caregivers seek custody of a child, unless parents are found to be unfit or exceptional circumstances are determined. The court looks at the “best Interest” of the child based on a number of factors when determining the type of custody. The following is a list of some of the types of child custody in Maryland:

  • Temporary Custody: This is a temporary measure while waiting for the court to hold a hearing.
  • Sole Custody: One person is granted sole legal custody, sole physical custody, or both. Legal custody provides the right to make decisions involving a child’s education, medical care, religious practices, etc. Physical custody involves day-to-day decisions and spending time with the child.
  • Split Custody (2 or more children): In this case, each parent obtains full physical custody over one child. The child’s age and wishes may play a factor in this type of decision.
  • Joint Custody: This type of custody is broken into three categories: Joint Legal, Shared Physical, and Combination. With Joint Legal custody, parents share in the upbringing of the child, even if the child has one primary residence. With Shared Physical custody, a child lives in two residences, spending at least 35% of time with each parent.

It is important to keep in mind that regardless of any agreement parents may have reached, the court will always look at the “best interests” of the child when determining custody.

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